Exercise tolerance test

23 May 2021 / 4:26 pm

What is it ?

An exercise tolerance test is a walking test to assessment the heart and body’s response to physical exercise. It is a useful test for assessing the presence of coronary heart disease and in patients who have symptoms of angina.


How is it performed ?

The procedure is performed with a clinical physiologist and there is often a doctor present. Small sticky pads (electrodes) are placed on your chest and connected up to the exercise machine to provide a continuous ECG. A blood pressure cuff will measure your blood pressure every few minutes. You will be asked to walk slowly on a moving belt that gently speeds up every three minutes. At fastest it is a brisk walk and it is unusual to need to run. Please bring comfortable shoes and wear loose fitting clothes if possible.

How long does it take ?

In total the test takes about 30 minutes. It is unusual for the walking test to last longer than 12 minutes. You can stop the test at any time.

Are there any risks ?

Reported risks of an exercise tolerance include heart attack and rhythm disturbance but these are very rare.

What happens next ?

Once you have completed the exercise test you may be able to have a shower if required. The results will be analysed and a report generated, usually within 7 days.

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