Treadmill Stress Test

Treadmill stress testing is a low risk method to diagnose and detect asymptomatic coronary artery disease and to evaluate low-risk patients with atypical chest pain. It is also used for functional assessment to determine prognosis in patients with known heart disease and for monitoring patients during their ongoing cardiac rehabilitation.

Generally, a treadmill stress testing is indicated to assist in the diagnosis of coronary artery disease in patients with symptoms that are atypical for myocardial ischemia, to assess functional capacity and to aid in assessing the prognosis of patients with known coronary artery disease, to evaluate the prognosis and functional capacity of patients with coronary artery disease soon after an uncomplicated myocardial infarction soon after discharge, to evaluate patients after coronary artery revascularization by surgery or by coronary angioplasty, to evaluate patients with symptoms suggestive of recurrent exercise-induced arrhythmias, to evaluate the functional capacity of selected patients with congenital heart disease, and to evaluate patients with rate-responsive pacemakers.

A treadmill stress testing in not recommended for use in patients with very recent acute myocardial infarction, angina pectoris at rest, or unstable angina, severe symptomatic left ventricular dysfunction, potentially life-threatening cardiac dysrhythmia, acute pericarditis, myocarditis, or endocarditis, severe aortic stenosis, severe arterial hypertension, acute pulmonary edema, embolus, or infarction, acute thrombophebitis or deep vein thrombosis, acute or serious general illness, neuromuscular, musculoskeletal, or arthritic condition that precludes exercise, uncontrolled metabolic disease such as diabetes, or inability or lack of desire or motivation to perform the test.

If you have been recommended to undergo a stress testing, you will be required to sign consent form for the procedure, a medical history and physical examination form review. You will also be provided with written criteria for stopping the exercise test. Before arrival the day of the procedure, you will be instructed not to eat for 2 hours before the test. If the indication for the test is disease screening or diagnosis, you will be instructed to discontinue any cardiac or hypertensive

After arrival, you will be explained the reasons for the test, explained the procedure, how work load will be increased and how blood pressure measurements will be taken. You will be assured of close monitoring during the procedure. Symptoms the patient should report during the test will be discussed. Instructions on terminating the procedure will also be discussed. You will be informed that complications of exercise testing may include hypotension, congestive heart failure, severe cardiac arrhythmia, cardiac arrest, acute myocardial infarction, stroke, or death.