What is a Treadmill Test (Exercise Stress Test)?
This examination can provide information on whether your heart has a blood supply and oxygen from the circulation during physical stress that may not appear on the ECG at rest. This examination can also provide important information if there is an abnormality of the heart rhythm and blood pressure.
When Treadmill Test Should Be Done?
The following are some conditions that require the treadmill test, namely:
If you are suspected of having coronary heart disease (CHD), which sometimes does not show up on an ECG at rest.
You have a higher risk of having CHD
To evaluate the tolerance during the move when you complain of unexplained fatigue and shortness of breath.
To evaluate the response of patients whose blood pressure has a tendency of hypertension during the move.
To search for the existence of an irregular heart rhythm (irregular) triggered by activity.
However, Treadmill test should not be done in several cases such as patients who have recently suffered a heart attack, or when patients have recently experienced chest pain, with suspicion or probable heart attack, high blood pressure (hypertension) are not controlled, heart failure who have not untreated, heart rhythm disturbances that are not controlled.
How is the Treadmill Test Performed?
The patient was taken to the room where the treadmill pulse and blood pressure are recorded at rest. Electrodes attached to the chest and connected to the ECG machine inspection.
This test consists of two parts. The first part of the exercise stress test, you will be asked to walk on a treadmill with specific training procedures, starting from step slow. The Bruce Protocol, the protocol most commonly used, has a total of 7 stages with increased speed and inclination steepness periodically every 3 minutes. Blood pressure, heart rate, and ECG you will be monitored and recorded simultaneously, at rest, and every 3 minutes in each phase of training. The doctor will ask you before a stage is over, are you still able to proceed to the next stage.
There are several considerations that must be followed when the test will be stopped and you do not need to complete the 7 stages. Stages 4-6 are require intense effort, and stage 7 requires maximum effort. This test will be stopped if the target pulse rate has been reached, or if you experience symptoms such as chest pain, dizziness, excessive rise in blood pressure, or extreme fatigue.
The second part of the test is the recovery period or phase of “slowing down”. Speed will be reduced gradually within 10 minutes. Blood pressure, heart rate, and ECG you will still be monitored during the second part of this progress.
Is there any preparation I need to do before the test?
Fast food and drink for 2-3 hours before the procedure is done. This will reduce the risk of nausea that can occur in fatigue due to strenuous exercise after eating. If you are diabetic receiving insulin therapy, there will be special instructions from the physician.
Consumption of some specific heart medications may need to be stopped by the doctor during the 1-2 days before the test. This instruction is usually given when the test is scheduled.
Wear comfortable clothing and shoes suitable for exercise (sports).
A description of this test will be given by the doctor and you will be asked to sign a letter of consent.
Chest cleaned with gauze and alcohol to ensure a good quality ECG lead. Chest hair should be shaved so that the sticker can be attached to the leads perfectly in the chest.
For women should use a bra with easy-open latch, and if possible, wear a shirt or a shirt with a button front.
How long does it take to undergo this test?
The test takes about 20-40 minutes depending on your exercise capacity and symptoms time. The Bruce Protocol takes a total of 21 minutes, 10-minute recovery period, and a 10-minute preparation.
Is it safe to do the test?
Portion of the risk of stress on the test is very small and similar to what you’d expect from a severe form of exercise. Experienced medical personnel will assist you to address complications such as heart rhythm disturbances, chest pain that does not improve, or heart attack.
How fast will I get results and what they mean?
Doctors who run this test can give you the results of interim assessments immediately after the test is completed. However, a more complete results take several days to complete. The results of these tests can confirm a diagnosis of heart disease. This study also helps assess whether you are in a stable condition, have heart disease, or blockage new ongoing.