Exercise testing (more commonly know as cardiac stress testing) is aimed at evaluating heart function for a variety of reasons, most often to check for coronary artery disease. There are different types of test, including treadmill testing and stress echocardiography. A treadmill exercise stress test is a screening tool to test the effect of exercise on your heart. You walk on a treadmill or pedal an exercycle while the electrical activity of your heart is measured with an electrocardiogram (ECG), via electrodes (conductive patches) placed on your chest. Blood pressure readings are also taken. These will measure your heart’s reaction to your body’s increased need for oxygen. The pace of the activity is gradually increased. After exercise, you continue to be monitored for a period, or until your heart rate returns to baseline (your normal level). Stress echocardiography incorporates a treadmill or exercycle test but uses ultrasound imaging to determine how the heart muscles respond to stress.
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Dr Kennedy has been a Northland District Health Board Specialist General Physician since 1991, and has worked in private practice as a Specialist in . . .