After you’ve walked on the treadmill, you’ll be tracked for 6 to 10 minutes with a heart monitor. A board certified UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s cardiologist will study the EKG tracings from the examination. The test results will be sent to both the doctor who requested the test and your primary care physician.
What is a Treadmill Stress Test, and how does it work?
When your heart is stressed by exercise, such as walking or running on a treadmill, a Treadmill Stress Test tests your heart rhythm. It assesses exercise tolerance and decides if an artery leading to the heart muscle has narrowed, which is a warning sign of a potential heart attack.
“A treadmill test will help you find out whether you’re at risk for heart disease, particularly if you’re experiencing some troubling symptoms. Subhi Halawa, MD, of UnityPoint Health St. Luke’s Cardiology Clinic, says, “We’re mainly concerned about chest pain or shortness of breath.” “Every three minutes, the treadmill becomes more difficult; the pace increases and the incline rises,” he continues. This necessitates the patient exerting more effort in order to complete the examination. Blood pressure, palpitations, and the electrical reaction to the test are all being controlled by a physician and a nurse.”
We may assess how well the heart muscle performs under heightened stress by comparing the electrical activity of the heart before, during, and after physical exercise. When walking on a treadmill, the test checks for any changes in the heart’s rhythm; these changes could suggest a problem with the heart’s rhythm or blood supply. These issues might only be apparent when you’re exercising.
Many people believe that The Tension Test on the Treadmill is a Thing of the Past
If a doctor believes a patient has heart issues or is at high risk for heart failure, a treadmill stress test could be useful. This test is no longer recommended for people who are at low risk for heart failure but have no symptoms. The test isn’t important for this group because risk factors like age, smoking, cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes, and family history have been shown to be nearly as effective in predicting a person’s risk of heart disease.
A treadmill stress test collects data on how well the heart is functioning when you exercise. Since exercise causes the heart to pound faster and harder than it does during other everyday activities, the test might be able to uncover heart issues that would otherwise go undetected.
You walk on a treadmill during the stress test as an electrocardiogram, or ECG, tracks the electrical signals that trigger the heartbeats. Sticky patches called electrodes are applied to your chest, legs, and arms before you begin. The ECG machine is connected to them through wires. During the exam, a blood pressure cuff is put on your arm to monitor your blood pressure.
You take it slowly at first. The treadmill’s speed and incline rise as the test progresses. To thoroughly track your heart’s function, you should make it work hard for around eight to twelve minutes. You keep exercising until you develop symptoms that prohibit you from doing so. Your doctor may decide to end the test sooner for a variety of reasons.
An exercise stress test is widely used by physicians to screen for coronary artery disease. The arteries supplying blood to the heart muscle are narrowed or totally blocked in this state. In the United States, coronary artery disease is the primary cause of death. During physical exercise, many patients with coronary artery disease experience symptoms such as shortness of breath or chest pain. However, many people with this condition have no symptoms at all, and their first sign of distress is a heart attack.
What is the length of the cardiac stress test?
The “Bruce” technique, named after Dr. Robert Bruce, who invented it in the 1950s, is the most widely used protocol during exercise treadmill tests. The typical Bruce protocol begins with a steady walking pace on a treadmill set to a 10% incline. The treadmill speed and the incline both increase every three minutes. The protocol can be adapted to the patient’s unique needs in a number of ways.
When the exercise must be halted, there are normally three things to consider: 1) The subject has achieved their “comfortable” degree of effort tolerance. 2) Anomalies are found, and the doctor determines whether or not to proceed. 3) At a pre-determined target heart rate, the test is terminated.
When conducting a stress test on healthy athletes for screening purposes, it is safer to do so at the person’s full tolerance or at the person’s normal level of effort when participating in sports or fitness activities. The length of the exam is therefore determined by the individual’s physical condition. Most people hit that point after 10 or 15 minutes because the Bruce protocol is graded and involves an incline as well as a speed portion.
After the stress test, there is a crucial recovery time that lasts a few minutes and during which we continue to track the ECG. Significant problems are often discovered only during the recovery phase.
What does a cardiac stress test entail?
The heart is an organ whose output is highly dependent on the amount of physical activity one participates in. Physical activity boosts the body’s oxygen demand, allowing muscles, like the heart muscle, to “burn” energy reserves including glycogen and fat. The blood transports oxygen, and the blood circulates under the power of the heart.
The heart can still pump enough blood to satisfy the body’s resting needs, including its own, in most cases of heart disease. As a consequence, the resting ECG and ultrasound may appear to be normal.
However, as a result of increased cardiac activity, the movement of blood in the body and through the coronary arteries of the heart increases several-fold during exercise.
A heart disease can thus be undetectable at rest but manifest during exercise by preventing the anticipated increase in cardiac activity or causing any detectable change in cardiac function.
The aim of a stress test is to increase the body’s demands on the heart to see if it reacts as planned. The stress test does not always provide a definitive diagnosis, but it does provide a clear indicator that something is wrong.
What the study shows
The following test findings are likely to require further testing and treatment:
ECG stands for electrocardiogram. Changes in the electrocardiogram may mean that the heart isn’t receiving enough blood, which is most likely due to artery narrowing or blockages.
The rate of your heart. You may have an electrical problem or another heart abnormality if the heart doesn’t beat as quickly as it should after strenuous exercise or if it takes too long to slow down after exercise.
Blood pressure is a calculation of how high the blood pressure is You may have heart muscle or valve irregularities if your systolic blood pressure does not increase by at least 10 to 20 mm Hg or starts to fall during exercise.
Rhythm moves. Heart rhythms that are irregular may indicate coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathy, or a hereditary heart disorder.
Who should get a stress test after exercising?
People who have chest pressure, shortness of breath, or other signs of heart disease should get an ECG stress examination. A typical baseline ECG and the ability to exercise are the only other criteria. An exercise bike can help people who have trouble walking, and an arm-powered exercise machine can help people who can’t use their legs.
When you start a cardiac rehabilitation program or begin an exercise program, your doctor can prescribe this test to decide how hard you should exercise. The test can also reveal whether or not the heart disease medications you’ve undergone are successful. Imaging tests that reveal extra details about your heart are often added by physicians.
An exercise physiologist monitors the exam, which is overseen by a physician. To begin, a number of adhesive pads will be applied to your chest and abdomen, each connected to a plastic-coated wire that feeds into the ECG system. Your blood pressure is measured using a cuff on your arm on a regular basis.
After you’ve walked on the treadmill, you’ll be tracked for 6 to 10 minutes with a heart monitor.
A board certified UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s cardiologist will study the EKG tracings from the examination.
The test results will be sent to both the doctor who requested the test and your primary care physician.