A stress ECG or electrocardiogram is a test that allows us to monitor the electrical activity in your heart as you exercise. It enables us to see how well your heart copes with physical activity.
If you come to the Cardiac Screen clinic in London for a stress electrocardiogram, you will be asked to walk on a treadmill, so you should wear comfortable clothes and shoes. Apart from the treadmill, the equipment used for an exercise ECG is similar to what you may have seen if you have had a resting ECG. Several electrodes will be attached to your chest to monitor the electrical activity in your heart. You will then begin walking at a comfortable pace, before the speed or slope of the treadmill is increased to make you work harder. You will be monitored closely throughout the stress ECG and you will never be pushed beyond your ability.
When you have a stress ECG, we will also be monitoring your blood pressure and heart. In some cases, your cardiologist might want to perform a stress echocardiogram too, which produces an ultrasound image of your heart so that we can check how well it is pumping during or just after exercise.
Testing your heart while it is under physical stress can reveal problems that might remain hidden when you are resting. The results of a stress electrocardiogram could help your doctor to detect and evaluate signs of cardiovascular disease or arrhythmia, to monitor your recovery, or to assess how much exercise it is safe for you to do.