An EKG monitors the electrical activity of your heartbeat. This activity is measured using by attaching electrodes to the patients chest and hooking this up to an EKG machine, the results are then reviewed by the nurse.
An EKG stress test, often referred to as a treadmill or exercise stress test, is a cardiac stress test that allows the doctor to determine how well your heart works. The standard stress test takes approximately half an hour, however there are many variations from the standard test and may take up to three hours.
A stress test helps the doctor understand the strength of your heart and can show whether there is a lack of blood supply. Results will indicate what types of exercise and activity levels are right for you and if further testing is needed.
If you are having a standard EKG stress test, you will be required to walk on a treadmill. The intensity level of exercise is easy at first and gradually gets harder; the treadmill either tilts to mimic going uphill and/or speeds up.
It is important to exercise for as long as possible in order to get maximum results from the test. Throughout the test, your heartbeat, blood pressure, breathing, and level of tiredness are monitored.