An electrocardiogram (EKG), also known as a stress test, measures the electrical activity of your heart during stress and exercise. It is used to measure the rate and regularity of heartbeats, the presence of any damage to the heart and the effects of drugs or devices used to regulate the heart (such as a pacemaker). EKG results can also help your doctor diagnose coronary artery disease.

During an EKG, your heart is evaluated and responses recorded as it’s being challenged during the exercise. Most often, a patient will walk on a treadmill or pedal on a stationary bike as the doctor or trained provider carefully monitors your symptoms and assesses how your heart reacts to the stress. This exercise helps to detect any chest pain, shortness of breath, abnormal rhythms and palpitations, and provides insight into the health of your heart valves and blood flow. Stress tests also help your doctor know the kind and level of exercise that will be most appropriate for you.