Treadmill Stress test

Why do I need a stress test?

A stress test, sometimes called a treadmill test or exercise test, helps your doctor find out how well your heart handles work. As your body works harder during the test, it requires more fuel and your heart has to pump more blood. The test can show if there’s a lack of blood supply through the arteries that go to the heart.
Taking a stress test also helps your doctor know the kind and level of exercise that’s right for you.

What happens during the test?

  • You’re hooked up to equipment to monitor your heart.
  • You walk slowly in place on the treadmill.
  • It tilts so you feel like you’re going up a small hill.
  • It changes speeds to make you walk faster.
  • You may be asked to breathe into a tube for a couple of minutes.
  • You can stop the test at any time if you need to.
  • After slowing down for a few minutes, you’ll sit or lie down and your heart and blood pressure will be checked.

What is monitored during the test?

  • Your heart rate
  • Your breathing
  • Your blood pressure
  • Your electrocardiogram (ECG)
  • How tired you feel, whether you are experiencing chest pains or breathlessness

How is the procedure performed?

Exercise is performed on a treadmill. If required, the leads of the ecg are placed on the chest wall. The treadmill is started at 2.74 km/hr (1.7 mph) and at a gradient (or incline) of 10%. At three minute intervals the incline of the treadmill increases by 2%, and the speed increases as predetermined, usually based on the very popular Bruce protocol.

Treadmill Stress Test at Peninsula Heart Centre

Your doctor may refer you directly to our service without prior consultation. You will be bulk-billed for this procedure. Your test will be supervised by a qualified doctor, usually a cardiologist. The test typically takes about 3o minutes. Please wear comfortable walking shoes and clothes. The result will be sent to your doctor soon after your test, usually the same day if your doctor has electronic health record facility. Occasionally, a very abnormal test may require urgent admission to hospital.

Example of a typical treadmill stress test

Stress echocardiogram