How to Prepare

  1. Eat a light breakfast the morning of your test, but don’t eat anything within one hour of your appointment time.
  2. Wear comfortable running shoes with your shoelaces double knotted. No flip flops please!
  3. Bring a water bottle to hydrate before and after your test.
  4. For our female patients – please wear a sports bra with good support.
  5. If you use an inhaler, please refrain from using it the morning of your test but bring it with you to your appointment.

Types of stress testing

Exercise Stress

What is an exercise stress test?

An exercise stress test evaluates the effect of exercise on the heart.

Why would someone need an exercise stress test?

An exercise stress test may be indicated in a variety of scenarios:

  • When a patient experiences symptoms during exercise, such as dizziness, fainting, shortness of breath or chest pain.
  • To measure the efficacy of cardiac medications that have been prescribed.
  • To evaluate exercise tolerance in certain patients with repaired or unrepaired congenital heart disease or in patients with a permanent pacemaker
  • To aid in the diagnosis of certain heart rhythm disturbances or channelopathies
  • To evaluate the effect of exercise in patients with cardiomyopathy

What will an exercise stress test tell my doctor?

A basic exercise stress test gives your cardiologist information about:

  • your heart rate and blood pressure response to exercise
  • If there are any arrhythmias (abnormal heart beats) during exercise
  • blood flow to the heart muscle during exercise
  • An assessment of your level of fitness

What is the process for getting an exercise stress test?

A technician will apply stickers (electrodes) to your chest. The stickers will be connected to wires (leads) that will connect to a computer that measures the electrical activity of the heart continuously. Several recordings of your heart rhythm will be made in various body positions (lying down, sitting, and standing). Vital signs, including your blood pressure, will also be measured. You will then exercise on a treadmill that is programmed to gradually increase in speed and incline every 3 minutes. The computer will collect and record data about the electrical activity of your heart before, during, and after exercise. Your blood pressure will also be measured periodically during and after the test.

The duration of the testing depends on your tolerance for exercise. You should plan to be in our office for approximately 1 to 1 ½ hours on the day of testing.

How do I prepare or prepare my child for an exercise stress test?

It is important to eat a light meal prior to undergoing an exercise stress test. You should wear comfortable shoes and clothing that are suitable for running.

Pulmonary Function

What is a pulmonary function test?

A pulmonary function test is a test to measure how well your lungs work. In the setting of an exercise stress test, a pulmonary function test evaluates how your lungs respond to exercise.

Why would someone need a pulmonary function test?

Pulmonary function tests are often ordered for patients with a history of asthma or for patients experiencing shortness of breath with exercise.

What will a pulmonary function test tell my doctor?

Pulmonary function testing gives your doctor information about how your lungs and airways respond to exercise.

What is the process of getting a pulmonary function test?

There are two methods of obtaining information about your lung status with exercise.

A simplified version involves breathing into a plastic tube called a peak flow meter. The technician will ask you to breathe in as deeply as possible, take the device in your mouth, and blow out as strongly and rapidly as possible. The device will report a number (called your forced expiratory flow) that can be compared to predicted values based on your gender, age, and height. Three measurements will be taken before and after you exercise on the treadmill.

Alternatively, if full pulmonary function tests are indicated, you will be asked to breathe into and out of a tube that is attached to a machine called a spirometer. The machine will take measurements of the amount and rate of air that you breathe in and out over a period of time. You will wear a clip on your nose to close your nostrils and be instructed by the technician when to take a deep breath and how to exhale. These measurements will be taken before and after your exercise.

How do I prepare or prepare my child for a pulmonary function test?

If your child takes uses any inhalers, please refrain from using them on the morning of the test. You should bring the inhalers with you to the treadmill office. Do not smoke on the day of your test.


What is metabolic testing?

  • The metabolic stress test measures the performance of the heart and lungs while they are under physical stress.

Why would someone need metabolic testing?

A metabolic stress test may be ordered if you have a history of:

  • complex congenital heart disease.
  • shortness of breath with exercise or impaired exercise capacity.
  • permanent pacemaker
  • heart failure

What will metabolic testing tell my doctor?

The metabolic test will give your doctor information about oxygen consumption and carbon dioxide production by your body during exercise. This information helps determine your cardiovascular fitness and evaluate the effectiveness of your cardiac treatment plan.

What is the process of metabolic testing?

Metabolic testing involves breathing through a special mask or mouthpiece during exercise. If a mouthpiece is used, your nostrils will be occluded with a nose clip. You will be instructed to breathe as you normally would during exercise. Because you won’t be able to talk while wearing the mask or mouthpiece, you will communicate with the technician using hand signals and by nodding/shaking your head during the testing.

How do I prepare or prepare my child for metabolic testing?

If your child takes uses any inhalers, please refrain from using them on the morning of the test. You should bring the inhalers with you to the treadmill office. Do not smoke on the day of your test.

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