A stress test is a practical way to assess the heart's capacity for work - and to identify coronary artery disease or the need for further tests or treatments. A stress test involves causing heart stress and then monitoring the heart's reaction. Before, during, and after a stress test, healthcare providers monitor your vital signs and your EKG. Stress can be caused in two ways:

  • Exercise. An exercise stress test examines your heart function under the stress of exercise. It requires you to walk on a treadmill or ride a stationary bicycle.
  • Medication. If you can't exercise at a level that stresses your heart - because of arthritis or some other problem - a medication can be used to stimulate your heart.
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