The pulmonary exercise stress test determines how effective your lungs, heart and muscles function during exercise. This is usually done on a treadmill or on a stationary bike. If you have shortness of breath, it may help determine the reason for your symptom.

Before your procedure:

  • Come at least 30 minutes before the test.
  • Do not eat or drink for 3 hours before the test.
  • If you have diabetes, ask your doctor or nurse what you may eat or drink before the test.
  • Do not smoke for 12 hours before the test.
  • Some medications may be stopped prior to the test; ask your doctor or nurse about your medications.
  • Wear comfortable clothing and walking shoes like sneakers.

During your procedure:

  • Body hair may be shaved to place small pads on your upper body to monitor your heart rate.
  • A sensor will be placed on you finger to monitor oxygen in your blood.
  • You will be asked to wear a nose clip and breath through a mouthpiece.
Before the exercise, a spirometry test may be done to measure the amount of air you breathe in and out while at rest.

During the exercise:

  • You will be asked to keep the nose clip on and breath through the mouthpiece.
  • Your blood pressure, breathing and heart rate will be monitored.
  • You will be asked to exercise as long as you can.
  • Blood samples may be taken to measure oxygen and carbon dioxide during the exercise.

After the procedure:

  • You can resume your normal activity.
  • You can resume your normal medications.
  • The doctor will discuss the results with you on your next office visit or by telephone.