What is a Treadmill Stress Test?
A treadmill stress test records the heart’s electrical activity (rate and rhythm) during exercise.
During the test a cardiologist and a technician are present.
Electrodes will be placed on the chest the same as for an electrocardiogram (EKG).
The patient will be asked to walk on a motorized treadmill.
The speed and incline of the treadmill will be gradually increased.
The doctor will be looking for changes in the EKG pattern and any symptoms that the patient may experience.
The test will be stopped if the patient becomes too tired or has any symptoms such as chest pains.
The test will last about 30-45 minutes.
This test must be ordered by a dotter.
Why is a Treadmill Stress Test done?
This test will help the doctor evaluate the patient’s cardiac condition related to:
- Irregular heart rhythms.
- If there is a decreased supply of blood and oxygen to the heart with exercise.
- How hard the heart can work before symptoms develop.
- How quickly the heart recovers after exercise.
- The patient’s overall level of cardiovascular conditioning.
- What the patient’s exercise target heart rate (THR) should be.
What preparation is needed?
- The patient must have nothing to eat except water 4 hours prior to the test.
- No caffeine or smoking at least 4 hours prior to the test.
It is important for the patient to ask their doctor:
- How to adjust insulin and food intake prior to the test if he or she are diabetic.
- If he or she should take his regular medications the morning of the test.
- If he or she is on a Beta Blocker, can he or she stop taking this medication 72 hours before the test as this is recommended for best results.
- Do not apply lotions, oils, or powers to the chest area.
- Wear comfortable clothing (shorts or pants with a shirt or blouse) and walking or jogging shoes.