Primary care physicians often recommend a treadmill stress test. You might be scheduled for one if you go in for an executive physical, an annual wellness check, or because of twinges in your chest.
At Dr. Sasan Massachi's clinic in Beverly Hills, California, treadmill stress tests are a routine diagnostic used to figure out if your heart is healthy and performing like it should be. Here’s what to expect from the test:
Stress test basics
A stress test or exercise stress test makes your heart work a little harder than it normally does during a medical exam. Most stress tests involve riding a stationary bike or walking quickly on a treadmill. Your doctor can see how your heart works during physical activity. He’ll monitor and track:
- Heart rhythm
- Blood pressure
The stress test will reveal if the flow is reduced in the arteries that receive blood from your heart.
Preparing for your treadmill stress test
Your doctor will ask you to wear comfortable clothes and shoes and may tell you to stop taking certain medications, supplements, or foods/beverages before your test. These can include:
- Food and non-water beverages for four hours before your test
- Caffeine for 12 hours before your test
- Certain heart medications for a day before your test (unless needed for chest pain)
Also, try to get a good night’s sleep before your stress test.
The treadmill stress test
Dr. Massachi will ask you to loosen your shirt or blouse so he can attach sticky patches called electrodes to your chest. He’ll also attach a blood pressure cuff to your arm, and a pulse monitor to your finger. Before the test starts, he’ll measure your blood pressure and heart activity for a baseline.
You’ll start walking slowly on the treadmill. Dr. Massachi will gradually increase the speed and resistance so you have to work harder. When your heart is working at the target rate for your age and gender, he’ll note your blood oxygen level, blood pressure, heart rate, and heart electrical activity.
The treadmill stress test usually takes 10 to 15 minutes. If you show any sign of a heart problem or become too tired, your doctor will stop the test.
You’ll usually get a preliminary result right after your test. Dr. Massachi will tell you If further study or testing is needed. A treadmill stress test can reveal:
- Early-stage coronary artery disease
- Arrhythmias (heart rhythm problems)
- Response to treatment for a previously diagnosed heart issue
- Your predicted risk for a heart attack
If you need a treadmill stress test, you can contact Dr. Sasan Massachi by calling 310-553-3013 or by requesting an appointment online.