Treadmill Stress Test

Some heart abnormalities may be more likely to occur during strenuous exercise. Therefore, if you have shown signs or symptoms of heart disease or if you are at greater risk for certain heart conditions, your doctor may recommend a treadmill stress test.

The ‘stress test’ is one of the most widely used diagnostic and preventive cardiology interventions available. And at Northwest Regional Heart and Vascular, it is administered to patients while being closely monitored by a nurse, cardiologist and cardiovascular technician .

How does the Treadmill Stress Test work?

Because exercise makes our hearts pump harder and faster than it does for most daily activities, this test can detect heart conditions that would not be noticeable otherwise.

  1. The test, which can also be performed on a stationary bike, analyzes how well a patient’s heart is working during strenuous physical activity.
  2. The stress test is usually done via an electrocardiogram (known as an ECG or EKG), which is used to measure a heart’s electrical activity. For the ECG, painless electrodes are placed at specific locations on the chest, arms, and legs.
  3. The patient then walks on a treadmill or pedals on a stationary bike. Breathing and blood pressure rates as well as heart rhythm are all monitored as the patient exercises. This results in a visual representation of the heart’s electrical activity, indicating if one or more of several heart-related conditions may be present (disorders that are not related to the heart can also be detected).

What do stress tests look for?

A stress test can examine and/or reveal:

  • An irregular heart rhythm (arrhythmia)
  • Coronary artery disease (including artery blockages)
  • Heart muscle damage
  • It can also determine safe exercise levels for a patient with a heart condition
  • It can assess cardiovascular health (including a disease, injury, and congenital issues)

What to expect during the treadmill stress test procedure.

The stress test is a safe, pain-free in office procedure. The procedure typically lasts no more than 60 minutes. Time spent on the treadmill is usually between 7-12 minutes (time may vary by patient).

  • Do not eat or drink for four hours prior to the test
  • Avoid caffeine for at least 24-hours prior to testing
  • Please avoid smoking prior to testing
  • Any other precautions to list?

Please be sure to inform your doctor of all medications you are currently taking and any physical restrictions that may cause pain or discomfort during the test.

To schedule an appointment in Portland, please call (503) 261-4430.

To schedule an appointment in Tillamook, please call (503) 815-2292.