What is a Treadmill Stress Test?
A Treadmill Stress Test monitors and records the heart's electrical activity (rate and rhythm) while exercising. The physician and a Respiratory Therapist will be present during the entire test to monitor your heart's rate and rhythm seen in EKG patterns. Your blood pressure will also be monitored at regular intervals throughout the test.
Why is a Stress Test Required?
A Stress Test will help the physician evaluate the patients cardiac condition regarding:
- Irregular heart rhythms
- Patients overall cardiac condition
- Chest pains the patient is experiencing
- Possible decrease in the patient's blood and oxygen supply to the heart muscle during exercise
- How hard the heart can be worked before symptoms develop
- How quickly the heart recovers from exercise
What is Involved in Preparation for a Stress Test?
- No caffeine or smoking at least 4 hours prior to the test
- Some important questions to ask your physician prior to the test are:
- Should your regular medications be taken before the test?
- If you are on Beta Blockers, should they be stopped 72 hours before the test or taken as usual?
- Do not apply any lotions, powders or oils to the chest area prior to the test
- Wear comfortable loose fitting clothing and comfortable walking or athletic shoes
What is Expected Once I Arrive for the Stress Test?
- You will register for the Stress Test, a Respiratory Therapist will be informed of your arrival and take you back to the Stress Test room.
- Your information will be entered into the Stress Test computer.
- You will be asked to remove everything from the waist up.
- The therapist will then prep you for the EKG monitor leads. For most people this means simply wiping the areas with an alcohol wipe (If you are a man with a fair amount of hair, the therapist may need to shave the areas).
- The therapist will place a blood pressure cuff on your upper arm to obtain periodic blood pressure measurements throughout the test.
- The therapist will obtain a blood pressure and EKG tracing while you are in a supine (lying), sitting and standing position.
- At this time the physician will be called. Once he/she arrives the test can begin.
- You will be placed on the treadmill and instructed to walk with the belt once it starts moving. The belt will increase in speed and incline every 3 minutes until you reach your target heart rate (THR).
- If at any time you experience chest discomfort, numbness, cramping, let the physician know immediately.
- You will then be instructed to return to the bed and lie down until your blood pressure and heart rate return to normal.
- You will be monitored for approximately 5-10 minutes, then disconnected from the equipment, allowed to change back into your regular clothes, if necessary, and released.
- A physician must order this test
- This test must be scheduled through Cardiopulmonary Diagnostics
- Bring the order with you and register either at the front desk or at the registration desk between Lab and Cardiopulmonary Diagnostics, they will call or page us
When Will I Know the Results of the Stress Test?
Since the physician is in the room for the entire test, he/she will be able to give you an answer right away on the results of your test.