This paper is a review of the stress testing literature applying current methods of evaluation and analysis of exercise stress testing data to modern practice. Advantages and disadvantages of various methods for stress testing are discussed. Interpretation of the exercise stress test and an extensive discussion of ‘false positive tests’ as well as ‘false negative tests’ and correlation of stress testing results with other parameters of coronary heart disease provide the reader with material which is particularly relevant to frequently encountered clinical situations. The implications of a negative and adequate stress test as well as various degrees of positivity of results are reviewed.Emphasis is placed on subgrouping patients with coronary artery disease by exercise stress testing results into reasonably homogeneous and clinically relevant subgroups. The usefulness of exercise stress testing in other conditions such as valvular heart disease, cardiac rehabilitation, postoperative coronary bypass evaluation and applications of radionucleotide scanning are reviewed.