FAQ - Stress Test - TMT
Q1. What is a Stress Test?
A. A stress test, sometimes called a treadmill test or exercise test, helps a doctor find out how well your heart handles work. As your body works harder during the test, it requires more oxygen, so the heart must 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.
Q2. How is the test performed?
A. A stress or treadmill or exercise test records the heart's electrical activity (rate and rhythm) during exercise.
- Prior to the test electrodes will be placed on the chest (same as ECG) and patient is hooked up to equipment to monitor the heart.
- Prior to the test you may be asked to breath rapidly (hyperventilate) for a while.
- The patient will be asked to walk on a motorised treadmill.
- The speed and inclination of the treadmill will be gradually increased.
- The doctor will be looking for changes in ECG pattern, will check Blood Pressure in between and will be enquiring about any symptoms that patient may experience.
- The patient may be on treadmill for up to 15 minutes, depending upon his level of exercise recovery and cardiovascular conditioning.
- The test will be stopped if the patient becomes too tired, has any symptoms such as chest pain.
Q3. How do I prepare for the test?
A. To prepare for the treadmill stress test, there are several things you should do to get the best results from the test. First, have a good night's sleep before the test. Second, eat a light breakfast or lunch about two hours prior to the test. Third, avoid drinks that contain caffeine such as coffee, tea, or colas. Drink fruit juices or water instead. Fourth, take your medicine as usual unless you are told otherwise by your doctor. Fifth, bring or wear loose-fitting clothing and comfortable walking or jogging shoes. There is a place available for changing clothes. Lastly, be sure to go to the bathroom before the test so that you won’t feel uncomfortable during the test.
Q4. What happens after the test is done?
A. After the test, patient will be asked to sit or lie down till heart and blood pressure recovers to baseline. The stress test doctor will then evaluate the data collected through the test and make the necessary recommendations. It is best to plan a rest period after the test and not plan any tiring activities for the rest of the day.
Q5. How long does a normal stress test take?
A. The total time required for the test will be about 30 minutes.
Q6. Is there any risk with the treadmill test?
A. There is very little risk in taking the test in healthy person – no more than if a person walks fat or jogs up a big hill. During the test, the cardiologist and a technician are always present to deal with a medical emergency should it arise.
Q7. When is a stress test recommended?
A. A physician may recommend an exercise stress test for various reasons:
- To diagnose coronary artery disease
- To diagnose a possible heart-related cause of symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath or lightheadedness
- To determine a safe level of exercise
- To check the effectiveness of procedures done to improve coronary artery circulation in patients with coronary artery disease
- To predict risk of dangerous heart-related conditions such as a heart attack.
Q8. Is it necessary to take a prior appointment?
A. Prior appointment will save considerable time on the day of test.
Q9. When do I get the results?
A. You will be asked to collect your report on a specified time.
Stress Test details :
- 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.
- A person taking the test is hooked up to equipment to monitor the heart.
- Walks slowly in place on a treadmill, on which the speed is increased for a faster pace and which is tilted to produce the effect of going up a small hill.
- May be asked to breathe into a tube for a couple of minutes.
- Can stop the test at any time if necessary.
- Afterwards will sit or lie down to have the heart and blood pressure checked.
- Heart rate, breathing, blood pressure, electrocardiogram (E.C.G. or E.K.G.), and how tired one feels are monitored during the test.
- There’s very little risk in taking the test in healthy persons – no more than if a person walks fast or jogs up a big hill.
Online instructions for Stress Test :
- You are advised to abstain from food or liquids (except water) for 4 hours prior to the test. Smoking must also be avoided during this period.
- Comfortable clothing (shorts or pants with shirt or blouse) must be worn.
- You should report 10 minutes prior to your test to enable a smooth and relaxed procedure to take place.
- You must ask your doctor the following questions before reporting for the test:
- If you are diabetic, how you need to adjust insulin and food intake prior to the test.
- If you should take your regular medications on the morning of the test.
- If you are on a beta blocker, whether or not you need to stop your regular medication 72 hours before the test.
- For males with a hairy chest, a shaving of the chest may be required for adequate contact of electrodes with the chest which ensures best results.
- For those adverse to walking barefoot on the treadmill, it is advised to bring along a pair of jogging shoes on the day of the test. However, this is not essential.
- You are advised not to apply lotions, oils or powder to the chest area.
- Please bring along details of any previous stress test to allow a comparison of reports.