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What Does It Mean To Have An Abnormal Stress Test?

A stress test is a way to confirm whether the functioning of the heart is appropriate or not. Stress test has become common for people suffering from heart diseases. Additionally, individuals who had previous episodes of heart attack, need to undergo the test to ensure that they to do not possess silent ischemia.

Silent ischemia is a situation where the flow of the blood decreases, thereby reducing the amount of oxygen required for the heart. The state occurs when there is excessive pressure on the heart, such as during an exercise activity. The occurrence is mainly due to clogged arteries, making it difficult for the passage of blood, which increases drastically during the exercise activity.

What Does It Mean To Have An Abnormal Stress Test?

Abnormal stress test results might be because of CHD or Coronary Heart Disease or other factors, like lack of physical fitness.

If you have an abnormal stress test then you are either having heart disease or you are not fit enough to go through the stress test. Now if you have an abnormal stress test then your physician will go for other alternative tests such as imaging stress test.

How is the Stress Test Helpful?

Taking the stress test will help in determining whether there are any abnormalities in the functioning of the heart. In such cases, the doctor will prescribe the treatment according to the results obtained from the stress test. It will ensure that there is no excessive pressure on the heart and that the treatment is balancing the functionality of the heart during both rest and working periods.

What is the Procedure of the Stress Test?

As a prerequisite, the doctor will ask the patient to avoid eating, drinking and smoking for at least two or three hours before to the appointment of the stress test. Additionally, for people who are undergoing treatment for diabetes, consulting their doctor is preferable, as it will help them to choose the required dose ahead of the stress test.

The stress test consists of using a treadmill or a stand-alone bicycle. Before beginning the procedure, a nurse or technician will attach electrodes in the form of patches to the chest, legs, and arms. These wires are capable of monitoring the electrical signals produced in the heart during the change of the pumping action.

At first, in the stress test the patient will start walking or running at a lower speed as specified by the doctor. Choosing the speed and the machine will depend on the previous results obtained by the physician. Before the exercise begins, the doctor will record the resting EKG. It will be the performance of the heart when the body is at resting state and will act as the reference.

Slowly, the technician will increase the speed of the machine while monitoring the levels displayed by the computer. The doctor will take a note of the changing values and may ask for different variations. The recording of the details will give insight into untraceable fluctuations taking place within the functionality of the heart.

The doctor will then compare the pre and post recordings of the EKG to arrive at a conclusion. If the record shows a positive sign or abnormal result, then the individual is suffering from inducible ischemia.


If the results of the stress test are positive about ischemia, the doctor will begin the treatment with lifestyle changes. It includes a change in the food habits and the addition of exercises that help in improving the condition of the heart functioning.

After a certain period, he may ask for a retest of stress test to check for the results and see whether the changes made an impact. If so, then the doctor will continue with the treatment and asks for bi-annual reporting procedure to record values. All these will help the individual to maintain good health of the heart, which is the primary source of running the entire body.

With all the things working out with ease, it becomes easy for any commoner to overcome the situation and lead a healthy life void of heart ailments and the silent ischemia, which can cause a severe threat to life.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:September 14, 2017

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