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A treadmill stress test involves exercising on a treadmill while wearing electrocardiogram (EKG) leads to find out how well your heart handles work. A stress test checks for changes in your heart while you exercise, since EKG abnormalities can sometimes be detected only during exercise or while symptoms are present. This test is also called an exercise electrocardiogram or simply a stress test.

Why is Your Doctor Ordering a Treadmill Stress Test?

Your doctor may order a treadmill stress to:

  • Diagnose heart disease
  • Diagnose a related condition causing symptoms such as chest pain or pressure, shortness of breath, or lightheadedness
  • Determine the effectiveness of medications
  • See how well you are able to tolerate exercise after a heart attack or heart surgery

What to Expect

Electrodes will be placed on your arms, legs and chest, which will be connected by wire leads to equipment that monitors your heart and  blood pressure. You will start out walking slowly on the treadmill, and the speed and incline will gradually be increased. An exercise EKG translates your heart's electrical activity into line tracings on page. You will be asked if you are having symptoms.

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