Cardiopulmonary Stress Test

ExitCare ImageCardiopulmonary stress testing looks at how your body uses oxygen and how it responds to exercise. The test will evaluate your:

  • Heart.

  • Lungs.

  • Muscles.


A cardiopulmonary stress test is usually indicated for the following:

  • Evaluation of unexplained shortness of breath.

  • Evaluation of exercise tolerance for a person with heart failure or coronary artery disease (CAD).

  • Evaluation of lung function. This is useful in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or pulmonary hypertension.

  • To evaluate how fit you are.

  • To assess your eligibility for disability.

  • Preoperative evaluation for:

  • Heart surgery.

  • Lung surgery.

  • Heart/Lung transplants.


  • Do not eat for at least two hours prior to the test or as told by your caregiver.

  • Do not drink alcohol 24 hours prior to the test.

  • Do not smoke, drink caffeinated or carbonated beverages for at least 6 hours prior to the test.

  • Wear loose, comfortable clothing and shoes.

  • If you use an inhaler, you should bring it with you to the test.


  • Electrodes will be attached to your chest. These will be attached to a monitor that will monitor your heart rate.

  • A nose clip will be applied to your nose.

  • A headpiece will be placed on your head. This will hold a breathing tube in place that you will breath through during the test.

  • You will exercise using either a bicycle or a treadmill.

  • Usually the study will begin with a few minutes of simple exercise followed by increased exercise.

  • Your blood pressure, heart rate and breathing will be monitored during and after the test. You will go home when your caregiver feels it is safe for you to do so.


  • You develop pain or pressure in the following areas:

  • Chest.

  • Jaw or neck.

  • Between your shoulder blades.

  • Pain radiating down your left arm.

  • You develop nausea (feeling sick to your stomach).

  • You develop vomiting.

  • You develop fainting or dizziness.

  • You develop shortness of breath.


  • Understand these instructions.

  • Will watch your condition.

  • Will get help right away if you are not doing well or get worse.