A treadmill test or an exercise test is generally recommended for those persons who show symptoms of coronary heart disease (CAD), or to determine blood pressure response for people who have borderline hypertension, or to check how the heart and lungs work under stressful situations like exercise. It can predict impending cardiovascular problems as well as check the condition of the heart and lungs after surgery. The treadmill test procedure is as follows:
You will be taken to the room where the test is to be performed and your heart and blood pressure will be recorded. Electrodes will be attached to your chest, shoulders and hips. These will be connected to EKG part of the stress machine. A sensor will be put on your finger. This measures the amount of oxygen in your blood. A blood pressure cuff will be placed on your arm. The test usually begins with a slow walk. The speed and the incline of the treadmill are gradually increased. This is usually done every 3 minutes according to a preprogrammed procedure. Each interval is called a Stage. For example, Stage 1, Stage 2, and so on. Your blood pressure will be recorded during each second minute of a particular stage. Your pulse, ECG along with any other symptoms you experience will be recorded at each stage too. Over a period of time, the test will become more physically demanding and even more stress will be placed on your heart and lungs. A maximal stress test is one where you will not be able to keep up with the level of exercise. This could be due to fatigue, or because chest pains, dizziness, shortness of breath (your symptoms) which would prevent you from completing the test. It could also be stopped if your ECG records any heart problems during the test. A submaximal stress test is one where level of exercise is determined beforehand. This treadmill test procedure is carried out on patients who already suffer from CAD and it measures the specific level of exercise such patients can perform. The test can be stopped at any time you feel any discomfort.
After the procedure you will lie down and your blood pressure, pulse and ECG will be checked and monitored till they return to baseline. The entire treadmill test procedure will take about an hour. This includes preparation for it. This test is considered safe and medical attendants are always on the standby to deal with any problem that might occur during the procedure.More articles from the Medical Tests Category