How Do I Prepare For A Cardiac Stress Test?

By Kurt Lehmann

Do you have a cardiac stress test scheduled? If so, you may have some questions about how to properly prepare for the test. Don’t worry! The preparations are simple. You don’t need to do much… The preparation for a cardiac stress test is fairly simple and straight forward (there’s no studying required, the most important thing is that you show up on time).

There are a few additional things you need to consider before your cardiac stress test. First, you will need to avoid any stimulant for at least three hours prior to testing. Stimulants include caffeine which can be found in chocolate, tea, soda and coffee. There are also some pain relievers that contain caffeine and those need to be avoided as well. Alcohol is another stimulant that you need to avoid for at least three hours prior to testing.

You will want to continue all medications unless your doctor has instructed you otherwise. In most cases if you take a prescription medication that is used to control the heart rate your doctor may have you hold this medication for 24 hours prior to testing. The reason for this is that part of the cardiac stress test is to increase your heart rate to your target rate and keep you there to monitor the activity of your heart.


Make sure that you go to the appointment in comfortable clothes. Clothing that is breathable, easy for you to move in and comfortable. Make sure that you are wearing comfortable shoes that will be able to walk and possibly jog in as the levels of intensity in the exercise increases.

Men will need to tell their doctor and or technician whether or not they have taken any medications to combat erectile dysfunction in the last twenty four hours. The reason for this is because if you experience any chest pain during testing and nitroglycerin needs to be given the combination of medications such as Viagra and nitroglycerin can be dangerous if not deadly.

You should be able to drive yourself to and from your cardiac stress test. Depending on the type of cardiac stress test you have done will determine the amount of time the test will take. Treadmill stress tests can last about 45 minutes start to finish, stress echocardiograms can last a little over an hour and nuclear stress test last about 4 hours.

If you are diabetic you will want to have a snack before your testing, especially if you are going to have the nuclear stress test done. Eating a light meal the morning of your test is acceptable, making sure that you are not eating a heavy meal which could lead to nausea and vomiting due to the full stomach and exercise.

It is always advisable that you take with you a complete list of all medications, the dosage that you take and how often you take them. If you have any questions that have not been answered yet, make sure to take those questions with you to the test and the nurse, doctor or technician will be able to answer them for you.

About the Author: Kurt Lehmann writes about health and wellness issues, including

nuclear stress test


cardiac stress tests



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