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Stress Testing

Source: NHLBI.

A simple exercise stress test is one where you walk on a treadmill and are monitored by  

The speed and grade are gradually increased. Your blood pressure and your heart rate are closely monitored. The goal is to attain at least 85% of your predicated maximal heart rate for your age.

If the heart does not get enough blood, the EKG can show characteristic changes suggesting ischemia.

The ST segment will commonly become depressed if the heart is ischemic.

Thus, if  ST segment depression is induced with exercise, with or without the production of symptoms, it suggests that myocardial ischemia is present.

The benefit of this test is that it is widely available and relatively inexpensive.

If  you  have a normal baseline ECG, the information of a standard stress is quite reliable and a normal test is of fairly good indicator of a low risk for a heart attack.

If  your baseline ECG is abnormal, the test becomes more unreliable. This is, there can be false negative or false positive information 

A false positive test shows ischemia is present in a person that does not really have ischemia.

A false negative test shows there no ischemia in a person who really has ischemia.