The treadmill test or stress test is a record of cardiac parameters including the electric activity of the heart (electrodiogram or ECG) during an exercise (treadmill or bicycle). In addition to recording the electrocardiogram, other parameters such as pulse (heart rate) and blood pressure are continuously monitored.
The treadmill test can be requested in addition to a routine medical exam espacially when a heart muscle sufferance is suspected or in case of arrhythmias or hypertension. It may also be indicated when symptoms such as dyspnea, chest pain, fatigue, fainting, occur or to monitor the effectiveness of a new treatment.
The applicant will be notified, that the day of the treadmill test, he should bring a sports clothing. The last meal will be taken at least two hours before the test ; it should be light. It is advisable not to use excitants and tobacco before the test.
Electrodes will be placed on the skin. The candidate will be lightly dressed and informed of the conditions of the test.
Several protocols can be used. In all cases, the applicant is asked to make a gradually increasing effort in increments of 2 or 3 minutes until he reaches the maximum heart rate for his age. This effort can be achieved on a bicycle or a treadmill. The test is stopped when the calculated maximum heart rate is reached or if the patient has pain or palpitations or if the ECG is abnormal. In some cases, it's the muscle exhaustion that requires to stop the effort.
Continuous monitoring of the electrocardiogram during exercise testing aims to detect any abnormality occurring during exercise and to diagnose some diseases asymptomatic at rest. For example, if there is an asymptomatic coronary artery disease, during the effort, the blood flow in these arteries will be insufficient, the ECG will be abnormal and sometimes the patient will have chest pain. The test is declared positive.
At the end of the stress test, the results will be communicated to the candidate and a medical report will be provided.