Treadmill Stress Test
A treadmill stress test, also known as a graded exercise test (GXT) is used to determine if the heart muscle is receiving an adequate blood supply under conditions of stress. It involves closely monitoring the electrocardiogram (EKG) while the patient exercises on a treadmill.
A treadmill stress test is typically given to those who have symptoms, such as shortness of breath or chest pains, that indicate possible coronary artery disease. A treadmill stress test provides information about a patient's exercise tolerance in addition to the probability of coronary artery disease. Finally, it provides information regarding exercise-induced arrhythmias.
Who Should Have a Treadmill Stress Test
If a patient has symptoms that suggest possible coronary artery disease, a treadmill stress test is a low-cost, low risk diagnostic test that can used to evaluate patients who have adequate ability to exercise and have a normal EKG under resting conditions. Despite these benefits, treadmill stress testing is not as accurate as stress tests that include nuclear or echocardiographic imaging and further testing is often necessary following an abnormal treadmill stress test.
Risks Of A Treadmill Stress Test
Although a treadmill stress test is generally considered safe, it does have the following risks:
- Chest pain
- Blood-pressure surge
Although extremely rare, it is possible for a nuclear cardiology stress test to cause a heart attack.