The stress test records your heart's response to the stress of exercise. This test measures your heart's electrical activity, blood pressure and heart rate while you exercise, usually by walking on a treadmill.

What is a stress test (exercise tolerance test)?

The stress test (exercise tolerance test or ETT) involves undergoing an electrocardiogram test as well as wearing a blood pressure monitor while walking on a treadmill. The goal is to monitor your heart during times of exercise to gather information on blood circulation within the heart. Your heart function will be tested at different intervals, while the treadmill's incline and speed increases.

The exercise tolerance test is usually done to find the cause of unexplained chest pain, especially if coronary artery disease is suspected. If you have been diagnosed with coronary artery disease, you may be given an exercise ECG to determine how far the disease has progressed and how much exercise you can do safely. 

If you have had a heart attack or heart surgery, it can help determine how much work or exercise you can do safely. It may also be recommended if you are experiencing irregular heartbeats (arrhythmia), very fast or slow heartbeats (tachycardia or bradycardia), palpitations (unusual throbbing or fluttering sensations in the heart), dizziness or excessive fatigue.

Learn more about the exercise tolerance test.