Why is Stress Test Performed & How Long Do You Have to Run on a Treadmill for a Stress Test?

A stress test is helpful for a doctor to understand the functionality of your heart. The reason behind is that during exercises, the heart pumps harder than the usual rate. It becomes easy to pick up any uncertain activity with the help of this feature.

Why is Stress Test Performed?

A doctor may prescribe the treadmill stress test to check the following:

  • Stress Test Can be Done to Diagnose Coronary Artery Disease – Coronary artery has an immense role in carrying oxygen to the heart along with nutrients. When there is damage to these arteries, it becomes difficult for the heart to receive the required nutrients and oxygen. The reason for injuries to the arteries is due to deposits of cholesterol. The oxygen and nutrient required during exercise is higher and heart has to pump additional blood to provide adequate oxygen and nutrient. If the coronary artery is blocked or has a stenosis (narrowed) then the blood supplied to excessive working heart muscle is muscles inadequate that result in ischemia (lack of adequate blood supply) and chest pain. The stress test thus indicate probable coronary artery disease and angina, which needs to be treated with medication or procedures.
  • Stress Test Can be Conducted to Check the Heart Rhythm Problems – The heart rhythm problems occur when there is a change in the electrical impulses, which coordinate with the heart to function appropriately. Any change in the pace will increase or lower the heartbeat, and in some case, make it irregular.
  • Stress Test is Done to Plan an Appropriate Treatment for Heart Disorders – If you already have a heart ailment, then the treadmill exercise will help the doctor to prepare for the best treatment plan depending on the stress that your heart is capable of handling the pressure.

The stress test is helpful for to evaluate and choose individual as a normal healthy individual or individual who may need further treatment. The stress test resulting in abnormal finding may be considered for medication therapy or surgical treatment. Surgery required could be coronary bypass surgery or replacement of the valves. It is excessively suitable test procedure to evaluate patients suffering with advanced heart diseases for heart transplantation and other advanced therapies.

How Long Do You Have to Run on a Treadmill for a Stress Test?

How Long Do You Have to Run on a Treadmill for a Stress Test?

The stress test can be simple in normal average individual and may last for 45 minutes to 1 hour. But stress test may last for 1 hour to 2 hours if stress test results in symptoms like chest pain and you may need treatment to stabilize your condition. Stress test is done in hospital where ICU facility is available and if necessary heart operation can be performed.

The stress test usually requires the patient to walk or run on a treadmill for a particular time. During this period, it becomes possible to check the heart rhythm, breathing, and blood pressure. The results depend on age and fitness of individual. Results of stress test differs when the body is at complete rest. Stress test becomes a major role player in understanding ongoing function of the heart, especially in the events of the silent ischemia or the inducible ischemia.

The total time taken to complete the stress test depends on office visit, registration and paper work to be completed by the doctor, which includes collection of information related to your health and history of prior exercise activities. These information helps to plan the appropriate course of the test.

Preparing for the Stress Test

It is critical that you should keep away from eating anything or drinking. You should also avoid smoking at least two hours before taking the treadmill stress test. You can consult your doctor if you can consume coffee or other medicines before taking the test or the day before. The reason is that certain drugs interfere with the test.

If you have asthma, it is preferable to bring inhaler or other medications at the time of the treadmill stress test. Ensure that the doctor and other care members are monitoring the stress test. Furthermore, wear comfortable clothes and bring walking shoes.

Stress test

The time taken for stress test itself begins from the time individual is taken in to test room from preparation for test to completion of test. The time required for the test in this case can be 1 to 2 hours. At the start of the stress test, a nurse will place sticky patches to the chest, arms, and legs. The connected wires show and records the electrocardiogram, and changes in electrocardiogram during exercise related activities. In addition to electrocardiogram you are also monitored for changes in blood pressure and blood oxygen saturation. The changes in blood oxygen saturation is measured by pulse oximeter. You are advised to walk at moderate speed over treadmill and speed is slowly increased. You can use the support of the treadmill during the activity. The time for which you have to carry out the test depends on outcome of tolerance of heart for exercise induced stress. The results are monitored by the cardiologist doctor. The average length is about 30 minutes, which consists of variation in speeds at which the doctor describes you to walk or run until you reach the maximum expected level of increase heart rate. Some cases may require echocardiography study in addition to electrocardiogram evaluation. In few cases treadmill test or running or walking on treadmill may last under 10 minutes if symptoms like pain is induced within this time.

You will have to rest in lying down position after the stress test until the heartbeat comes back to near normal numbers or the number which was observed at the beginning of the trial.

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