A normal treadmill or stationary bicycle stress test takes about 60 minutes total, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Stress tests that require additional imaging or medications, such as a nuclear stress test, can take up to four hours, notes WebMD.
The total appointment time includes the preparation for the test, the test itself, and the rest and monitoring period afterward. After the patient arrives, the physician or nurse may ask some questions. The person administering the stress test applies electrodes to the chest. The actual exercise portion of the test usually takes only 15 minutes or less, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Monitoring the heart or taking images of the heart as it slows down after the exercise takes up the remaining time.