Stress Test

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.