What is the physiologic basis of exercise tolerance test for cardiac assessment?

Updated: Nov 20, 2018
  • Author: Richard S Krause, MD; Chief Editor: Barry E Brenner, MD, PhD, FACEP  more...
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Physical exercise places stress on the cardiopulmonary system. The physiologic response to exercise is an increase in heart rate and blood pressure (BP). This results in increased myocardial oxygen demand. In some patients with coronary artery disease (CAD), myocardial ischemia can be induced during exercise. This may result in both chest pain and a characteristic electrocardiographic (ECG) response. The goal of exercise testing in patients with acute chest pain is to identify these responses and, thus, the implied presence of significant CAD in a controlled setting.

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