Stress test or Ergometry

"It is very important that you try to make as much effort as possible so that the results of the test are reliable".


The ergometry or stress test allows the reproduction of the angina in a controlled way to be able to diagnose it.

If a patient has coronary disease, the blockage in the artery may allow normal blood flow to the heart at rest, so he will not experience any symptoms, and the electrocardiogram will be normal.

However, when doing physical exercise or exerting oneself, the work of the heart will be increased and, therefore, the need for blood supply, but due to that obstruction, there will be a deficit in blood supply that will cause the appearance of angina pectoris and alterations in the electrocardiogram.

Sometimes, it can be combined with imaging techniques (echocardiography or cardiac scan) to improve its diagnostic capacity.

Imagen del icono de la consulta de Segunda Opinión. Clínica Universidad de Navarra

Do you need our help?
Contact with us

When is the stress test indicated?

Thanks to this test, it is possible to discover whether or not the patient's chest pain is due to narrowing or obstruction of a coronary artery. In addition to aiding in correct diagnosis, ergometry is useful for assessing the prognosis in those patients with known coronary disease, as well as the effect of treatment.

Ergometry can also be used to determine the appropriate level of physical effort for each person, the study of some arrhythmias, myocardiopathies and congenital or rheumatic heart diseases, or the prognosis of some heart diseases.

Sometimes, it can be combined with imaging techniques (echocardiography or cardiac scan) to improve its diagnostic ability.

Most frequent indications of this test:

  • Angina pectoris.
  • Study of chest pain.
  • Acute myocardial infarction.
  • Some valve diseases and myocardiopathies.
  • Study of the functional capacity pre transplant or in cardiac rehabilitation.

Do you have any of these diseases?

You may need to have a stress test

How is the stress test performed?

Before starting the test, doctors will record your blood pressure and pulse. Electrodes will be attached so that the electrical activity of your heart can be recorded before you start exercising (called a resting electrocardiogram), while you are exercising and for about 10 minutes after exercise.

Patients who are unable to exercise for any reason are given a drug that simulates the effects of exercise on the body.

Exercise is started gently.

In the most commonly used protocol, every three minutes the level of effort is automatically increased so that the heart accelerates until it reaches the desired heart rate. When the patient is unable to continue with the effort, he or she must inform the doctor. Then, the test is immediately stopped and the patient moves on to the recovery phase, during which he or she will be asked to lie down or sit down and rest.

It is very important to try to make as much effort as possible so that the results of the test are reliable. If at any time any serious arrhythmia, alterations in blood pressure, alterations in the electrocardiogram or the patient experiences progressive angina pectoris are detected, the test will also be stopped.

Stress tests are generally safe. Some patients may have chest pain or may faint or fade. A heart attack or dangerous irregular heart rhythm rarely occurs.

Usually, people who are likely to have such complications are known in advance to have weak hearts, and are not usually tested.

Where do we do it?


The Department of Cardiology
of the Clínica Universidad de Navarra

The Department of Cardiology of the Clinica Universidad de Navarra is a center of reference in different diagnostic techniques and coronary treatments.

We have been the first center in Europe to place a pacemaker by means of a catheterization without the need to open the chest, for cases of severe heart failure.

The Cardiology Department of the Clinic collaborates with the Radiology and Cardiac Surgery Departments to achieve a quick and precise diagnosis of the patient.

Imagen de la fachada de consultas de la sede en Pamplona de la Clínica Universidad de Navarra

Why at the Clinica?

  • Specialized Arrhythmia Unit of national reference.
  • Unit of Hemodynamics and Interventionist Cardiology equipped with the best technology.
  • Cardiac Imaging Unit to achieve the highest diagnostic accuracy.

Our team of professionals