Preventive Cardiology Clinic

 

An exercise treadmill stress test, more commonly referred to as a stress test, is an an excellent way to evaluate your heart's response to physical activity. This is done through the monitoring of your heart rate, blood pressure, and electrocardiograms while you exercise on a treadmill. There are many questions that can be answered with this test such as:

 

  • The presence of significant coronary artery disease

  • Blood pressure response to exercise

  • Abnormalities with your heart's electrical activity

  • Fitness level

 

Unlike a stress echocardiogram there is no imaging involved with a stress test. A stress test is typically performed on someone who is:

 

  • Having chest pain which does not sound heart related

  • Placed in a low pre-test risk catagory for having significant coronary artery disease, this includes:

    • No family history of heart disease

    • Normal cholesterol and triglyceride levels

    • Normal resting electrocardiogram

  • Male patients

    • Females have a higher incidence of false positive stress electrocardiograms

  • Having the test performed as part of a physical

 

A stress test is a very safe test to perform. The risk of having a serious complication (heart attack or death) is less than 1 in 10,000. Keep in mind that you will be continously monitored throughtout the test by experienced personnel and the test will be stopped if there is any indication that continuing would be unsafe.

 

Exercise Stress Test

Stress Test Details & Preparation

A stress test is the perfect opportunity to push yourself beyond your normal exercise tolerance and see what you are capable of doing. The longer you can stay on the treadmill the more information that is gathered which will result in you having more confidence in your heart's health.

Preparing for the test 
  • DO NOT eat, drink, or smoke for at least three hours before the test.

  • DO take your usual medications with a sip of water unless instructed otherwise br your provider. Diabetics who use insulin or glucose lowering agents may need to adjust their dosage. Please check with your provider if you are not sure.

  • DO wear comfortable clothes and walking shoes.

 

Stress test details
  • Plan on the test taking 1 hour to complete.

  • You will be asked to disrobe from the waist up, if you are female you will be given a gown to wear.

  • 10 EKG electrodes will be placed on your chest wall. For men, limited shaving of the chest may be necessary to assure good contact between your skin and the electrodes.

  • Blood pressures and EKGs will be taken before, during, and after the stress test.

  • Your treadmill exercise will follow a standard protocol, every 3 minutes the speed and elevation of the treadmill will increase. Your pace will start at a slow walk and end with a brisk walk or slow jog depending on your fitness level

  • Average exercise time on the treadmill is 6 - 12 minutes.

  • The test will end if any of the following are met:

    • If you are unable to keep pace with the treadmill.

    • If you experience dizziness or lightheadness.

    • Abnormal EKG changes or blood pressure readings.

    • Maximum target heartrate is achieved.

The stress test will be interpreted by Dr. Klodas, the final report will be delivered to the appropriate person within 5 - 7 business days.