HomeDisease PreventionTreadmill ECG Test : Purpose, Procedure and Risks

Treadmill ECG Test : Purpose, Procedure and Risks

Treadmill ECG Test

Treadmill ECG test
Treadmill ECG test

A stress test goes by different names; in the medical field, it is also called an exercise stress test, stress EKG, stress ECG, stress echocardiogram, treadmill test, and nuclear stress test.

This diagnostic test involves a patient walking on a treadmill or riding a stationary bike. At the same time, an electrocardiogram (ECG) device monitors the patient’s breathing, heart rhythm, and blood pressure, as well as signs of fatigue and chest discomfort.

Read More: Anteroseptal Infarct Symptoms, Diagnosis And Treatment

The heart is not more significant than the size of a fist and only weighs about 10 ounces, but what it lacks in stature, it compensates in strength and power! It is well-known that the heart pumps faster and harder when a person is engaged in a strenuous activity.

However, only a few people know that it is possible to see and monitor how the heart works during this time. This is done via a stress test (exercise ECG).

Suppose the patient is not fit enough to withstand the physical toil of exercise. In that case, the doctor will provide a medicine that mimics the heart’s physical response to exercise (i.e., the heart will beat harder and faster, just like you are exercising!).

Read More: 4 Ways To Get Relief From Heart Problems In Men

To learn more about a treadmill ECG test, the topics below will be tackled in this article:

  • Purpose of a treadmill ECG test
  • Preparation of treadmill ECG test
  • Procedure of treadmill ECG test
  • What to expect during the test
  • Risks and complications

Purpose of Treadmill ECG Test

Stress tests are designed to show how well the heart responds to physical activity, and in some cases, heart disorders are easier to identify while the heart is hard at work.

For example, anomalies in a patient’s heart rate or blood pressure and physical symptoms that progressively worsen could tell that the patient has coronary artery disease or a heart condition where the build-up of fats has reduced the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the muscle. If a person cannot complete the stress test during the required time, it may mean that the blood flow to their heart is reduced, and a reduced blood flow is indicative of a heart condition.

Preparation of treadmill ECG test

Before a patient undergoes a treadmill ECG test, the doctor will provide helpful tips on preparing for the stress test. For example, you will be asked to bring exercise clothes that you will be comfortable moving and sweating on and a pair of sturdy walking or running shoes. A closed pair of shoes is recommended for maximum protection and comfort.

Read More: Vertebral Artery Test Purpose, Procedure And Techniques

Your doctor will also ask you about your personal medical history before conducting the test. They will also have queries on how you are capable of performing any physical activity and at what level of intensity you can do it. Your doctor will also do a quick check on your lungs and heart to identify any issues that may affect the results of the test.

The procedure of the Treadmill ECG Test

The doctor or the doctor’s assistant (nurse/technician) will attach the electrode patches to your arms, chest, and legs. If necessary, body hair may be shaved to allow the electrode patches to stick as close to the skin as possible. The wires of the electrodes are connected to the computer, which will record the electrical impulses from the heart. Blood pressure is monitored closely during the exercise, and you will be asked to breathe through a tube during the ongoing test.

You will be instructed to start slowly on a treadmill or stationary bike. The intensity of the exercise will progress as the clock ticks. The treadmill has railings on both sides that you can use to stabilize yourself but be reminded: do not grip the railings too tightly, as doing so may affect the results.

The test will end when your heart rate has reached a required level or when your body shows adverse signs and symptoms (e.g., abnormal heart rate, rhythm, blood pressure, dizziness, fatigue, chest pain, etc.). Your doctor will discuss the safe limits before starting the test, so you should not worry and concentrate on the task. If you are uncomfortable, you can stop at any time. Once the test is complete, you can return to your normal activities.

Importance of treadmill ECG test

Aside from diagnosing coronary artery disease, a treadmill ECG test is also used by doctors and cardiologists in Singapore to diagnose heart arrhythmia. This cardiac condition causes an irregular heartbeat. An arrhythmia occurs when the heart’s electrical signals do not work correctly and cause it to beat too slowly, too fast, or irregularly.

The test is also used to guide the treatment of cardiac patients. The treadmill ECG and other stress tests can determine if the current treatment plan works for you. And as with other diagnostic tests, it will give your doctor an idea of the best treatment for your condition.

A treadmill ECG test is an essential part of a pre-surgery checklist, too, especially for patients who are candidates for a heart transplant or valve replacement.

If you are a long-time smoker and a heavy alcohol drinker over forty years old, or if you are at risk for heart disease, you can ask your doctor if you need a stress test.

And last but not least, the test can help you determine what exercise level is safe for you, especially if you are planning to start a new exercise program. Your risk for injuries will significantly decrease if you know your physical limitations.

What are the possible risks and complications of a treadmill ECG test?

A treadmill ECG test in Singapore is safe, so there should be no reason for you to avoid or delay it! Doctors and their staff follow strict guidelines and protocols to ensure that the patient does not suffer any injury or side effects. The list below describes the possible complications of the test:

●      Abnormal rhythm of the heart – As the heart pumps blood hard and fast, arrhythmias may occur. But do not panic because this irregularity typically goes away after the body has rested and recovered.

●      Low blood pressure/collapsing/fainting – Exercise may have adverse reactions in some people – it may make their blood pressure drop or cause them to feel lightheaded and faint (or nearly faint). These problems, however, are gone as soon as you stop exercising. 

●      Heart attack – This is, by far, the worst possible complication of a treadmill ECG test. The good news is that this is extremely, very rare.

Health Centre to perform Treadmill ECG Test in Singapore

Cadence Heart Centre

Cadence Heart Centre

You can book an appointment with Cadence Heart Centre for this ECG test. They are open From Monday to Friday 9 A.M to 5 P.M and Saturday 9 A.M to 12.30 AM.
Address: Mt Elizabeth Hospital, 3 Mount Elizabeth #14-13 Mt Elizabeth Medical Centre, Singapore 228510
Email: [email protected]
Contact Number: + (65) 8318 9884 / + (65) 6369 8789 / + (65) 6369 2789
Website: https://cadenceheart.sg/


The results of your treadmill ECG test will determine if your heart functions are normal or if you will need further tests. You may reach out to the Cadence Heart Center for any questions or doubts, and we will be happy to accommodate your queries.

Watch a video about Treadmill Stress Test

About The Author

Judy Lexie
Judy Lexiehttps://health.gd/
Hi there! I'm Judy Lexie, a passionate health and fitness content writer with over 5 years of experience in the industry. As a personal trainer and nutrition consultant, I'm dedicated to empowering individuals to achieve their health and wellness goals through evidence-based, practical advice.

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