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Exercise tolerance test / cycle ergometry

The exercise tolerance test provides information about how your heart copes during physical activity and how well you recover from exercise. During the test, your blood pressure and ECG are continuously recorded while you cycle on a stationary exercise bike.

The test

The exercise tolerance test is done using a stationary exercise bike. We recommend you wear comfortable clothes to do this test, such as sportswear and sports shoes.

Your nurse will apply electrodes to your upper body by using sticky pads. The ECG machine records the electrical impulses which prompt your heart to contract, producing your heart rhythm. As it records these impulses, the ECG machine converts them into images of your heart.

After the pads have been applied, your nurse will give you instructions what to do. You will be asked to start cycling slowly. The resistance will gradually build up, increasing your heart rate.

You may start to get symptoms as you cycle (such as chest pain or chest tightness). Should you get any of these symptoms or you feel you can’t continue, tell your nurse immediately. Your nurse will then reduce the resistance, so that you can slow down gradually.

Duration of the test

The exercise tolerance test takes about 15 to 20 minutes, but it can vary from person to person.