Reasons, Preparation and Procedure For Conducting a Treadmill Stress Test

Submitted on March 27, 2012

Treadmill Stress Test

A stress treadmill test is called an exercise electrocardiogram. This test is done to check the changes in the heart as you are exercising. It is believed that there are certain abnormalities that can be spotted while exercising. During treadmill stress testing, you will have to walk on a motor-driven treadmill or may have to work out on a stationary cycle. A stress test on treadmill translates the electrical activity of the heart into a line tracing on paper. The dips and spikes in the tracings are known as waves.

Reasons Why It is Done

An exercise electrocardiogram or a stress test is done for the following reasons -
  • To check for the cause behind unexplained chest pain.
  • To examine various types of heart disease.
  • Check to see if people, who have had a heart surgery or a heart attack, are able to tolerate exercise.
  • Zero down on the reason behind symptoms such as irregular heartbeats or rapid heartbeats, fainting, dizziness, that crop up while exercising.
  • This test is done to check for narrowing or blockage of an artery after a medical procedure.
  • If a person is being treated for chest pain or irregular heartbeat, then this test helps to ascertain how well the treatment is working.
  • If you haven't been exercising for several years and want to start on an exercise program, then this test will help you decide.


You need to tell your doctor if you have been taking any medicines like Viagra. Also ask your doctor if you need to stop taking any medicines. Also, let your doctor know if you are allergic to any medicines. You should also inform your doctor if you take blood-thinners or have any bleeding problems. If you are pregnant or have joint problems, then you need to inform your doctor before the test.

The doctor will let you know how much you should eat before the test. For example, he may ask you to have a light breakfast.


A treadmill stress test should be done in a doctor's clinic or office, or in a hospital by a doctor or a health care professional.

Certain areas on your chest, legs and arms are shaved before placing the metal disks. Small pads that have been soaked in alcohol are placed between the skin and the disks to improve the way the electrical impulses are conducted. Electrodes are fixed to a machine to trace the activity of your heart. A blood pressure band will be wrapped on one of your arms.

Then you will have to walk on a treadmill as you are being monitored by an EKG machine.