This is the most widely used screening test for cardiac disease, and is an important and accurate way of assessing how the heart works when placed under a 'load'. Abnormalities of the heart are frequently recognised in this way. Most new patients, and many patients undergoing a 'follow-up' visit, will undertake an exercise test.
Ten electrodes ('sticky pads') are applied to the chest, and a blood pressure monitor is placed on the arm. The treadmill is started at a comfortable speed for the specific patient; the ECG and blood pressure are used to monitor the patient during and after the test. The nurse and/or doctor assess the patient and the ECG for evidence of heart problems. A test that is clearly negative after a significant level of exercise, is reassuring and indicates good cardiac function.