Treadmill Stress Test

An exercise test is most often done to evaluate for coronary artery disease, and the test is done in two parts. An IV will be placed in your arm. During the first part, you will have a radioactive tracer injected into your bloodstream. After a short wait, resting images of your heart will be taken.

Electrodes will be placed on your chest to record the heart’s activity. The blood pressure cuff on your arm will be inflated every few minutes. Baseline measurements of heart rate and blood pressure will be taken before exercise starts and continue during the entire test and into recovery.

During exercise, the pace and incline of the treadmill will gradually be increased. At target heart rate, you will be injected through your IV with a second dose of the radiotracer, which will allow the doctor to acquire stress images of your heart. The test continues until you reach a target heart rate. The second sets of pictures are taken a short time after you get off the treadmill. These images show how blood flows to the heart during exercise and the entire test can take 3-5 hours.

To help you prepare for the test, you will receive a phone call from the testing staff 24-48 hrs before the test with detailed instructions as well as an opportunity to ask any questions.

  • Don’t smoke or drink beverages containing caffeine or alcohol for 24 hours (or more) before the test. Also avoid foods such as chocolate and decaffeinated beverages, which may also contain a small amount of caffeine.
  • If you have an appointment before 11 a.m., begin fasting after midnight. Patients scheduled after 11 a.m. may have a LIGHT breakfast, but NO COFFEE!!
  • Wear comfortable shoes and loose clothing to allow you to exercise.
  • Bring a list of all of your medications, including over-the-counter medicines and supplements.
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