A stress test sometimes called a treadmill test or exercise test, helps physicians find out how well the heart handles stress. As the body works harder during the test, it requires more oxygen and the heart has to pump more blood. The test can show if the blood supply is reduced in the arteries that supply the heart. It also helps doctors know the kind and level of exercise appropriate for a patient.
ECG treadmill testing as the first choice for patients with medium risk of coronary heart disease based on the risk factors of smoking, family history of coronary stenosis, hypertension, diabetes, and high cholesterol.
The patient runs on a treadmill while connected to an electrocardiogram (ECG) machine, usually with the standard 10 connections used to record a 12-lead ECG. The level of exercise is increased in 3-minute stages of progressively increased grade (% incline) and speed (mph, km/h, etc.). The patient’s symptoms and blood pressure response are repeatedly checked. When using ECG and blood pressure monitoring alone the test is variously called a cardiac stress test, exercise stress test, exercise treadmill test, exercise tolerance test, stress test or exercise ECG test.