A stress test describes any one of a number of diagnostic procedures where the patient is put under physical stress in order to test the functioning of their heart and lungs. There are two main stress tests:
- The treadmill test, where the patient is put on a treadmill until their heart rate has risen to 130 beats per minute; and
- The tilt table test, where the patient is put on a table that tilts back and forth to disorient the patient and force the heart to pump blood in different directions.
In both cases, the patient is hooked up to a heart monitor and a respiration monitor. Healthy patients will not show any adverse reactions to the tests (apart from a rising heart rate), but arythmia and other conditions will often reveal themselves when the patient is under stress.