Ergometry – Process, benefits and alternatives

Ergometry – Process, benefits and alternatives

Ergometry - what is involved?

Ergometry is the measurement of physical fitness through exercise tests and observation of certain body functions using an ECG and occasionally also a device for measuring breathing. Apart from the application in sports medicine, ergometry is mainly used in the diagnosis and treatment of heart diseases and lung diseases.
In order to produce an image of the heart during exercise, an exercise ECG is carried out.
This ECG is handled similarly to a normal ECG, the only difference is that you are physically active and you are moving on a bicycle or treadmill.
Spiroergometry is an examination whereby, in addition to the usual exercise on the bicycle ergometer, breathing during exercise is measured. Thus, the doctor can assess the performance of the heart and lungs and determine the endurance and cardiorespiratory fitness limits.

Ergometry – when?

With regard to some cardiovascular diseases, the heart appears healthy in a simple ECG examination. Disorders only become apparent during exercise. Above all, symptoms such as shortness of breath, sharp pain in the chest or reduction in performance are not discernible in resting examinations. With regard to ergometry, an exercise test is carried out under strict medical supervision, and if symptoms appear, certain measurement values concerning cardiovascular function (e.g. blood pressure, heart beats per minute, cardiac rhythm and changes in the ECG) can be recorded. This provides indications of the cause of the complaints.

During exercise tests, cardiorespiratory fitness and changes in cardiovascular function are examined and assessed for different diseases, e.g. high blood pressure, bradycardia, chronotropic incompetence, heart failure, valvular heart disease, cardiac arrhythmia, coronary heart disease (CHD) and following heart surgery.

Ergometry – how?

You should wear comfortable sportswear and trainers for the exercise test on the bicycle ergometer or the treadmill. At the start of the examination, a resting ECG is recorded and the resting blood pressure is measured. For this purpose, several electrodes are attached to the skin on the chest and back and a blood pressure cuff is applied to the left upper arm. The ECG recordings during physical exercise are then repeated at regular intervals.

The physical exercise is either on a bicycle or a treadmill. The resistance of the bicycle ergometer or the speed of the treadmill is increased every two minutes to increase the level of exercise in a controlled manner. The examination is carried out until the exercise limit, unless certain measurement values (such as blood pressure or heart rate) exceed the determined limit values or if heart complaints or breathing difficulties occur. Once the exercise limit is reached, you should keep peddling or walking without effort for a few more minutes, so that complaints which occur a short period of time after exercise can be detected.

Ergometry – are there alternatives?

Ergometry is just one examination in a whole arsenal of cardiovascular examinations.
The worst side-effect for healthy patients is a slight muscular ache. With regard to patients with severe cardiac disease, the examining doctor must carefully consider whether there are any contraindications for the implementation of ergometry (e.g. acute coronary syndrome, myocarditis, serious valvular heart disease, high blood pressure, etc.)

Ergometry – why at the Wiener Privatklinik?

The Wiener Privatklinik not only offers you some of Vienna’s best medical specialists, but also specialists and the necessary technical diagnostic equipment for all examinations, which may be required if a disease is suspected as a result of the ergometry. It also offers the best specialists for the immediate treatment of such diseases. Early detection and timely treatment at the highest level are the best guarantee for a long, pain-free life.

You can obtain more detailed information on ergometry from our telephone info-line or by email. All contact details can be found on our Contact page.