Cardiac Stress Test

What is a Cardiac Stress Test? How does it work?

A cardiac stress test determines how well the heart is working under physical stress. Typically the test involves walking on a treadmill or riding a stationary bike to monitor the heart’s activity. Exercising makes the heart pump harder and faster, so a cardiac stress test helps reveal issues with blood flow in the heart.

Some reasons a doctor orders a cardiac stress test include:

  • Arrhythmias - heart beats too fast, too slow or irregular
  • Congenital heart disease - defects in the fetus heart
  • Congestive heart failure - heart muscle is weak and can’t pump enough blood to the body
  • Coronary artery disease- narrowing of the coronary arteries caused by the buildup of fatty materials called plaque
  • Heart valve disease- when heart valves become damaged, they can block flow in the heart

What to expect during a Cardiac Stress Test?

During a cardiac stress test, a technician will take the patient's heart rate and blood pressure then place electrodes – sticky patches – on the chest, legs, and arms. The wires connect to the machine that records the heart's activity. The patient will walk on a treadmill or ride a stationary bike for about 10 to 15 minutes. As the test goes on, the exercise becomes harder.

Patients are sometimes asked to not eat, drink or smoke before the cardiac stress test takes place.

Additional/Related Procedures

After an echocardiogram determines the cause of the abnormal heart, a minimally invasive procedure or surgery may be needed to treat it, including:

  • Catheter Ablation: This minimally invasive procedure uses a catheter to apply heat or cold (cryoablation) to disrupt or destroy heart tissue that causes an arrhythmia. It requires a short hospital stay and offers a quick recovery.
  • Implanted Electronic Cardiac Devices: Small battery-powered devices, such as pacemakers, defibrillators and cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) devices, are connected to one or more wires (called leads) and are surgically placed under the skin near the collarbone. These devices automatically deliver an electrical signal to control your heartbeat.
  • WATCHMAN™ Left Atrial Appendage Closure: This advanced surgery can significantly reduce the risk of stroke in people with atrial fibrillation by blocking the area in the heart where most stroke-causing blood clots form, called the left atrial appendage.

Scheduling

Jersey Shore University Medical Center - call 732-776-4300

Ocean University Medical Center - call 732-324-5270

Riverview Medical Center - call 732-530-2328

Bayshore Medical Center - call 732-739-5923

Southern Ocean Medical Center - call 609-978-3400

Old Bridge Medical Center - call 732-324-5270

Raritan Bay Medical Center - call 732-324-5270

JFK University Medical Center - call 732-321-7540

Hackensack University Medical Center - call 551-996-3800

For More Information

Why Choose Hackensack Meridian Health for Heart Care

Quality

We have more top-ranked hospitals than any other system in New Jersey, including for the best Cardiology & Heart Surgery program and as High Performing in several areas of care, including Aortic Valve Surgery, Heart Attack and Heart Bypass Surgery, as noted by U.S. News & World Report.

Innovation

Our award-winning team of experienced heart specialists uses the latest diagnostic equipment and minimally invasive surgical techniques to diagnose and treat common and complex heart conditions.

Comprehensive heart care

Our team-based approach pairs you with top heart experts. From prevention and diagnosis to surgery and rehabilitation, we provide comprehensive heart care in a compassionate, friendly environment close to home.

Patient speaking with doctor
Our Top Heart Doctors in New Jersey

Our highly skilled team of heart specialists perform more than 3,000 procedures every year, including advanced, minimally invasive approaches. We provide exceptional cardiac treatment and personalized care to help you recover as quickly and safely as possible.

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