How Long Does Stress Test Take (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 1 To 2 Hours

Taking a rough estimation of how long a stress test takes, the complete process takes from a minimum of 1 hour to a maximum of 2 hours. All the steps Included in this process known as stress tests determine how long a stress test will be. In most of the common cases, stress tests include three phases. These three phases are, before a stress test, during a stress test, and after a stress test. All these phases altogether make a stress test.

How Long Does A Stress Test Take?

Talking about the first phase, that is, before the stress test, the doctor will be asking you questions regarding your medical history or any current medical conditions. Moreover, he or she will also ask you questions about exercising like how often you exercise and at what level of intensity do you exercise. The doctor will also listen and determine your heart and lungs proper or improper functioning for any health-related problems that can affect the stress test results. This whole process takes around 30 to 45 minutes to get completed.

The second phase, that is, during the stress test phase, is the main phase when the actual stress test is done. During this phase the person is asked to exercise on a treadmill or a stationary bike, starting with a slower pace and then gradually increasing. As the stress test and time advances, the exercises get more intensive and consequently difficult to perform. The exercise is supposed to be continued until the person’s heart rate has reached a specific target level. Another case when the person will have to stop exercising further is the time until the person has signs or symptoms which signify not to continue the exercises further. The second phase, that is, during the stress test takes about 30 to 45 minutes.

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The last phase is after the exercise phase. Once the person stops exercising, he or she may be asked to stand still for a couple of seconds and then lie down for some time with the monitors in place. The third phase, that is, after the stress test takes about 15 to 20 minutes.

Here is a quick summary of how long does a stress test take based on steps Included in the complete process: 

Phases Of Stress TestTime
Before the stress test30 to 45 minutes
During the stress test30 to 45 minutes
After the exercise15 to 20 minutes

Why Does A Stress Test Take That Long?

The reason why a stress test takes that long is because of the steps or phases included in it. Thus it is important to understand what is done in all three phases to know why a stress test takes that long.

The first and the last phase do not take a lot of time, but just around half an hour. In these two steps, the common thing is that the person does not have to do anything. In these two phases, the doctor checks the person to know the needful about the person’s medical conditions. In the first phase, that is, before the stress test phase, the doctor checks the person to know the amount of exercise that would be appropriate for the person during the stress test. Whereas, in the last phase, the doctor watches out for any health problems as the person’s heart rate and breathing return to normal after performing an intensive exercise.

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However, the second phase, that is, during the stress test phase takes the longest time. In this phase, a nurse or professional places sticky patches, technically known as electrodes on the person’s chest, legs, and arms. If the person has body hair then they might be shaved to help the electrodes stick. Wires are then further connected to sensors and then to a computer. This complete setup records the person’s heart electrical activity. 

Conclusion

A stress test is used for many different purposes like to guide treatment decisions, determine how well the heart treatment is working, and also diagnose the severity of an existing heart condition. Moreover, it is also used to diagnose coronary artery disease, arrhythmias, heart disorders, and other such heart problems.

References

  1. https://www.karger.com/Article/Abstract/119004
  2. http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.360.5247&rep=rep1&type=pdf
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