Will I need a stress test to diagnose atrial fibrillation?

Douglas E. Severance, MD
Family Medicine
Certain heart problems, like atrial fibrillation, may be easier to diagnose if your heart is working hard and beating fast. With an EKG (ECG) stress test, your doctor will observe your heart either while you are exercising or, if you are unable to exercise, while you are taking a medication to speed up your heart rate so your heart works hard and beats fast during the EKG. The EKG stress test may show your doctor the following:

- Any abnormal changes in your blood pressure and/or heart rate
- Symptoms you may have reported such as chest pain under stress or during exercise
- Any unusual changes in your heart's rhythm or electrical system
- Problems such as valvular heart disease or heart failure

Continue Learning about Heart and Circulatory System

Heart and Circulatory System

Heart and Circulatory System

Your circulatory system is made up of your heart and three main types of blood vessels -- arteries, veins and capillaries. Your heart is at the center of the system, acting as a pump to distribute nutrient- and oxygen-rich blood t...

hrough your body; it then takes away carbon dioxide and other waste your body doesn't need. Signs of poor circulation include cold hands and feet, numbness, dizziness, migraines, varicose veins and pain in your feet or legs. Untreated, poor circulation can lead to stroke, high blood pressure, kidney damage and other diseases. Learn more about your heart and circulatory system with expert advice from Sharecare.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.