ECG/Cardiac stress test

What is an ECG?

The procedure to record the electrical function of the heart (ECG) is more than 100 years old. In addition to physical examinations (percussion, auscultation), this has long been the most performed, inexpensive procedure to examine the heart which can be repeated without limitation. Not only various arrhythmias, but most structural heart diseases also cause ECG abnormalities, as the diseases of the heart muscle, valves, and coronary arteries also affect the electrical function of the heart, and this is what we can check with an ECG.

In many cases, ECG alone helps us to make a definite diagnosis, but many times more tests are needed to accurately map the disease. ECG is a widely used screening test, and it is a part of cardiac screening, sports medicine examination, and fitness tests. It can be done painlessly in a few minutes.

What is a cardiac stress test?

While normal ECG is performed in a resting (supine) position and it examines resting heart function, cardiac stress test is performed on a treadmill or cycle ergometer with increasing physical strain. At Emineo Private Hospital, the test is performed if coronary artery stenosis is suspected (chest pain, fatigue, shortness of breath). In this case, the increased oxygen demand of the heart muscle cannot be met by the blood supply to the coronary arteries due to the narrowing, so a lack of oxygen develops. This causes a change in the heart’s electrical functioning and it can be detected with ECG. The test takes about 20 minutes. Complications are rare but may occur, so the examination is performed in the presence of a physician with appropriate technical background.

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