An exercise electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) is a test that checks for changes in your heart while you exercise. Sometimes EKG abnormalities can be seen only during exercise or while symptoms are present. This test is sometimes called a "stress test" or a "treadmill test." During an exercise EKG, you may either walk on a motor-driven treadmill or pedal a stationary bicycle.
The Reference heart Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window is a muscular pump made up of Reference four chambers Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window. The two upper chambers are called atria, and the two lower chambers are called ventricles. A natural electrical system causes the heart muscle to contract and pump blood through the heart to the lungs and the rest of the body. See a picture of the Reference heart and its electrical system Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window.
An exercise EKG translates the heart's electrical activity into line tracings on paper. The spikes and dips in the line tracings are called waves. See a picture of the Reference EKG components and intervals Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window.
A resting EKG is always done before an exercise EKG test, and results of the resting EKG are compared to the results of the exercise EKG. A resting EKG may also show a heart problem that would make an exercise EKG unsafe.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference September 11, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
Reference George Philippides, MD - Cardiology