How It Feels
The electrodes may feel cool when they
are put on your chest. If you have a lot of hair on your chest, a small area
under each electrode may need to be shaved. When the electrodes are taken off,
they may pull your skin a little.
The room where the exercise
electrocardiogram is done may be kept cool for comfort, since you will warm up
rapidly when you begin to exercise.
The blood pressure cuff on
your arm will be inflated every few minutes. This will squeeze your arm and
feel tight. Tell your health professional if this is painful.
While exercising, you may have leg cramps or soreness; feel tired, short
of breath, or lightheaded; have a dry mouth; and sweat. You might even have
some mild chest pain. Tell the health professional or doctor if you have these
An exercise electrocardiogram is generally
safe. Emergency equipment will be available in the testing area. Risks
- Irregular heartbeats during the
- Severe chest pain
The electrodes are used to transfer an image of the
electrical activity of your heart to tracing on paper. No electricity passes
through your body from the machine, and there is no danger of getting an
An exercise electrocardiogram (EKG or
ECG) is a test that checks for changes in your heart while you exercise. Your
doctor may be able to talk to you about your results right after the test.
But complete test results may take several days.
will look at the pattern of spikes and dips on your electrocardiogram to check
the electrical activity in different parts of your heart. The spikes and dips
are grouped into different sections that show how your heart is working. See a
picture that explains the
EKG components and intervals .
Exercise electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) results
| Normal: |
You reach your target heart rate (based on
your age) and can exercise without chest pain or other symptoms of heart
Your blood pressure increases steadily
Your EKG tracings do not show any
significant changes. Your heartbeats look normal.
You have chest pain during or right after
You have other symptoms of heart disease,
such as dizziness, fainting, or extreme shortness of breath.
Your blood pressure drops or does not rise
The EKG tracing does not look normal.
Your heartbeats are too fast, too slow, or
What Affects the Test
You may not be able to have the
test or the results may not be accurate if:
- The electrodes are not securely attached to the
- You take certain medicines, such as digoxin, phenothiazines,
and some antiarrhythmic medicines.
- You have a low
- You smoke or eat a heavy
meal before the test.