Bicycle Stress Test

A bicycle stress test is a type of exercise stress test that uses a stationary bicycle to increase the workload on the heart. It is a non-invasive test that is used to assess the heart's function during exercise and to identify any abnormalities.[1][2]

Purpose[edit | edit source]

A bicycle stress test may be ordered for a variety of reasons, including:

  • To evaluate the risk of heart disease in people with chest pain, shortness of breath, or other heart-related symptoms
  • To monitor the effectiveness of heart disease treatment
  • To assess the fitness level of athletes and other people who exercise regularly
  • To diagnose heart conditions, such as coronary artery disease and arrhythmias[2][2]

Procedure[edit | edit source]

A bicycle stress test is typically performed in a doctor's office or hospital. The patient will be asked to change into comfortable clothing and shoes. They will then be seated on a stationary bicycle and fitted with an electrocardiogram (EKG) monitor to record their heart rate and rhythm.

The patient will then begin pedaling the bicycle at a slow pace. The workload on the heart will be gradually increased by increasing the speed or resistance of the bicycle. The patient's heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing will be monitored throughout the test.

The test will end when the patient reaches their target heart rate, which is typically 85% of their maximum predicted heart rate. The patient may also stop the test if they experience any chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, or other discomfort.

Risks[edit | edit source]

A bicycle stress test is a very safe procedure. However, there is a small risk of complications, such as:

  • Chest pain
  • Arrhythmias
  • Heart attack
  • Fainting

These complications are more likely to occur in people with underlying heart disease.[3]

Results[edit | edit source]

The results of a bicycle stress test will be interpreted by a doctor. The doctor will consider the patient's age, symptoms, medical history, and the results of other tests when making a diagnosis.

A normal bicycle stress test result means that the heart is functioning normally during exercise. An abnormal result may indicate that the patient has heart disease or another medical condition.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Cleveland Clinic. "Exercise stress test."
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Mayo Clinic. "Bicycle stress test."
  3. American Heart Association. "Exercise stress test."