Treadmill Guides

Treadmill Stress Test – What Do The Results Indicate?

Stress tests are used primarily for identifying diseases of the coronary arteries. The tests require patients to perform exercises on a treadmill or on an exercise bicycle while their blood pressure, heart rate, electrocardiogram (ECG) and other symptoms are monitored.

Stress tests are useful particularly in detection and diagnosis of ischemia or insufficient supply of blood to heart muscles because of blockages in the coronary arteries. They are also less commonly used to assess safe levels or determining of the intensity and duration levels of exercise for people with existing coronary artery disease.

The normal results of exercise stress tests generally show normal heart rate, normal electrocardiogram tracings, normal range blood pressure and no unusual dizziness, angina or shortness of breath.

A number of abnormal readings can surface on conducting an exercise stress test. For instance,  heart rhythm disturbances or ST segment depressions are examples of exercise induced ECG abnormalities.

Such ECG abnormalities are generally indicative of ischemia or inadequate flow of blood to heart muscles. One of the possible causes of ischemia is narrow coronary arteries. Such abnormalities that emerge from stress tests generally need to be further evaluated and diagnosed for suitable therapy.

Generally, patients are advised and instructed to refrain from eating or smoking for several hours prior to the test. They are also advised to inform their attending physician about the medications if any that they are under, and to wear comfortable clothing and footwear.

Patients should be prepared beforehand for a stress test. They should be told and educated on the purpose of the test, and be fully aware of symptoms under which the test must not be carried out further to prevent a medical mishap. Attending physicians and nurses as well as health care technicians can ensure patients’ well being and safety by encouraging immediate communication of any kind of discomfort at any stage during the stress test.

After the test, the patient is advised to rest until the heart rate and blood pressure return to normal. If all is well, and there are no distress signs, then the patient can return to his usual daily activities.