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The Exercise Stress Test (EST)

Also known as an exercise treadmill test, is a non-invasive diagnostic procedure that evaluates the heart’s ability to pump blood during exercise. It is primarily used to assess patients with symptoms such as fatigue and chest pain to determine whether the underlying cause is coronary artery disease (CAD). During a stress test, the patient walks or runs on a treadmill while their heart rate, blood pressure, and electrocardiogram (ECG) are monitored.

What is EST

An Exercise Stress Test (EST) is a procedure that measures the electrical activity of the heart (electrocardiogram or ECG) while the individual is engaged in physical exercise, typically on a treadmill. During the test, healthcare professionals will monitor the individual’s heart rate, blood pressure, and any changes in the ECG that may indicate underlying heart conditions.

The purpose of an EST is to assess the heart’s ability to respond to increased demands for blood and oxygen during physical exertion. This test can help diagnose issues such as coronary artery disease, where the heart’s blood vessels are narrowed, leading to an insufficient blood supply to the heart muscle. When the heart is working harder during exercise, these underlying problems may become more evident through the changes observed in the ECG.

What happens during an Exercise Stress Test (EST)?

1. Electrode pads will be placed on the individual’s chest, arms, and legs to monitor the heart’s electrical activity. 

2. The individual will begin walking on a treadmill, with the speed and incline gradually increased over time. 

3. Healthcare professionals will continuously monitor the individual’s heart rate, blood pressure, and ECG changes throughout the test. 

4. The test will continue until the individual reaches their target heart rate or experiences any concerning symptoms, such as shortness of breath, chest pain, or irregular heartbeats. 

5. The test typically lasts 15-20 minutes.

Who should undergo an Exercise Stress Test (EST)?

An EST is recommended for individuals aged 40 and older, regardless of whether they have risk factors for heart disease. It is particularly beneficial for those with risk factors, such as: 

– Smokers 

– Individuals with high cholesterol, diabetes, or high blood pressure 

– Individuals who experience frequent chest pain or tightness during physical exertion

What are the advantages of an Exercise Stress Test (EST)?

1. Diagnose the cause of symptoms like easy fatigue or chest tightness. 

2. Assess the risk of heart disease in asymptomatic individuals with moderate to high risk factors. 

3. Evaluate the progression of heart disease in patients with known coronary artery disease. 

4. Diagnose certain heart rhythm disorders. 

5. Evaluate the maximum exercise capacity and heart function. 

6. Assess exercise capacity in patients with a recent heart attack. 

How to prepare for an Exercise Stress Test (EST)?

1. Avoid eating and drinking for 3 hours before the test. 

2. Avoid caffeine-containing foods and beverages for 12 hours before the test. 

3. Inform the healthcare team about any medications you are taking, especially heart or blood pressure medications.

4. If you have diabetes, let your healthcare provider know, and they can provide guidance on managing your medications. 

5. If you have asthma and use inhalers, bring them with you to the test.

At Longa Heart Health Medical Center, we offer Exercise Stress Test (EST) services as part of our comprehensive approach to cardiovascular care without the need for surgery. Our team of experienced physicians, nurses, and allied healthcare professionals is dedicated to safeguarding the health of your heart. We believe that regular heart health checkups are essential for everyone, regardless of their risk factors. If you’re interested in our services, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 099 986 8443 for a consultation.