Why is a stress test performed?

A stress test is performed to tell doctors the likelihood of developing coronary heart disease.

A stress test is usually done to find out whether you have coronary artery disease. If you’ve been experiencing chest pain during exercise or had unexplained shortness of breath, for example, a stress test can help your doctor determine whether it is caused by a build-up of fat and cholesterol plaque that is limiting blood flow through the arteries of your heart.

Cardiologists may also order a stress test to assess how well a particular heart treatment is working; whether your heart is strong enough to withstand major surgery; whether you are ready to begin an exercise program, especially after a heart attack; how effectively the heart is pumping if you have heart failure; or, if you have poor heart function, whether you should be considered for heart transplantation.

In addition, if you have been experiencing a racing heart or a fluttering feeling in your chest during exercise, a stress test may be used as a beginning step in evaluating whether a problem with your heart’s electrical system is causing the abnormal heart rhythm (which is called arrhythmia).

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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.