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Treadmill Exercise Testing

  • Please wear comfortable walking shoes such as runners or sneakers.
  • It is important you bring all of your medications.
  • Please arrive 15 minutes before the scheduled time.

The Treadmill Exercise Test (TET) is usually ordered for Patients who are experiencing symptoms of chest discomfort, shortness of breath or palpitations (irregular heart beat). Often these symptoms are related to physical activity.

The TET is used as a screening test for the detection of coronary artery disease (a build up of plaque in the blood vessels to the heart causing a partial or complete obstruction). Your Electrocardiogram (ECG) and blood pressure are monitored while you are walking on a treadmill.

Prior to the test, an Allied Health Care Professional will take a brief history including medication history and symptoms, ask you about your risk factors (High blood pressure, Cholesterol level, Smoking, Diabetes, etc…) and then explain the test to you. You will then be examined to make sure there is no reason to cancel the test. Once this is completed you will be asked to read and sign a consent form. The staff will answer any questions relating to the consent form.

The nurse or technician will then prepare the skin so the Electrocardiogram (ECG) can monitor your heart rhythm continuously throughout the test without interference from motion and sweat. For Men this involves shaving the skin, rubbing it vigorously with alcohol and then gently roughening the skin with special abrasive paper. For Women the skin still has to be rubbed with alcohol and also gently roughed. Ten electrodes are then applied to the chest.

During your TET there are always 2 experienced Physicians immediately available. All the necessary resuscitation equipment and emergency medications are readily available. The staff takes yearly Basic Cardiac Life Support (BCLS) certification.

Before the TET your blood pressure and an Electrocardiogram (ECG) will be recorded in the sitting and standing position.

You will then be instructed to begin walking. Initially the treadmill will be flat and moving very slowly. The Allied Health Care Professional will help you coordinate your walking. During the TET you will be asked how you are feeling and your blood pressure will be recorded every 3 minutes. Your heart rhythm is monitored continuously and an ECG is taken every 3 minutes as a permanent record for the Physician to review. During the TET the speed and incline of the treadmill will progressively increase.

If you are experiencing any difficulties please notify your atttending staff member immedately.

The TET is a heart rate limited and symptom limited test. The target heart rate is 85% of your maximum predicted heart rate (220-Age in years). The test will stop if you develop symptoms or if you achieve the target heart rate, whichever occurs first. The test will also be stopped if you ask to stop the test. The test may also be stopped because of changes in the ECG or blood pressure.

At the completion of the test your clinical condition, blood pressure and ECG will be monitored until everything returns to baseline.

At the Kingston Heart Clinic all Treadmill Exercise Tests are interpreted by the supervising Physician and a formal written report will then be mailed and received by your Doctor within 10 days. Tests which are significantly abnormal are interpreted immediately and FAXed to the referring Physician. If necessary, the patient will be interviewed and advice and/or drug therapy initiated.