What is an exercise stress test?
An exercise stress test helps doctors determine how well your heart handles physical exertion. This test is also called a treadmill test and is performed with specialized equipment in a cardiac laboratory.
When you engage in physical activity, your heart and lungs need more oxygen, requiring your heart to pump more blood. If you have some type of heart problem, such as coronary artery disease, the exercise stress test evaluates the severity of your condition.
Your doctor may order this test to:
- Determine the cause of chest pain and shortness of breath
- Diagnose heart disease
- Check how well treatments for coronary heart disease are working
- Determine a safe level of exercise for you
- Predict your risk of serious heart problems, such as a heart attack
- To evaluate for cardiac arrhythmia issues or response to treatment
Why choose Ohio State for an exercise stress test?
While there are multiple kinds of stress tests, including echo stress tests and nuclear stress tests, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center is the only place in the world performing treadmill exercise stress tests inside the MRI scan room.
The standard design of treadmills has made exercise stress testing a challenge near the large magnetic field generated by the MRI equipment. Ohio State's College of Medicine worked with graduate students from Ohio State’s College of Engineering and faculty from the OSU Agricultural Technical Institute to modify a treadmill for use in close proximity to the MRI exam table. Magnetic components were replaced with nonmagnetic stainless steel and aluminum equivalents. This allows us to exercise patients to peak stress and obtain a high definition image of their heart within 60 seconds, which helps us more accurately identify exercise-induced abnormalities.