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Treadmill test (TMT) is used for determining whether your heart can withstand any stress or excess workload. It helps to measure your heart’s ability to handle stress. It is also called an exercise stress test. It is an easy test that can be used for evaluating the severity of heart disease for heart patients. A TMT is conducted while you exercise on a treadmill with continuous ECG monitoring. This test compares your blood circulation in the heart while resting with the blood circulation during gradually increasing levels of physical exercise.

When is a TMT Test Useful?

A TMT is used for the following conditions:

  • To identify any silent blocks in the blood vessels of heart that are gradually narrowing over a period of time.
  • To know the functioning of the heart following a heart attack or other procedure such as angioplasty.
  • To identify the cause of shortness of breath, chest discomfort or body weakness.
  • To evaluate the efficiency of medications used for treating diseases such as ischemia and angina.
  • To determine any abnormal heart rate disorders due to the strain caused by exercise.
  • To identify if your heart is receiving proper blood flow and enough oxygen.

How to Prepare for the TMT Test?

Patients need to do some preparation before undergoing a TMT like:

  • You should avoid eating or drinking anything other than water for at least four hours before the TMT test.
  • Inform your doctor about any symptoms that can make your exercising difficult.
  • Avoid drinking beverages that contain caffeine for 12 hours before the TMT test
  • If you are using any medications that decrease your heart rate, stop taking them for 2-3 days prior to the test. Ask your doctor for alternative medicines for those 3 days.
  • Diabetic patients should confirm from their doctor about the amount of insulin injection to be taken on the day of the test.
  • Inform your doctor if you experience chest pain or other health issues on the day of the test.
  • Wear comfortable clothing and shoes such as sneakers for undergoing the TMT test.

How a Treadmill Test is Performed?

A TMT test is performed by sticking electrodes on your chest by a technician. The electrodes are connected to the recording devices of the ECG machine so that the electrical functioning of the heart can be measured continuously all throughout the test. 

Before beginning the exercise, your heart rate and BP will be checked. At the initial stage of the treadmill test, the speed of the treadmill is slow. Gradually, for every three minutes known as stages, speed and inclination of the belt gets increased. During this test, the ECG machine records the electrical activity on a graph at each stage. If you find any difficulty during the test such as chest pain, breathlessness or fatigue, you can ask to stop the test immediately.

Once the required heart rate is reached and adequate exercise is done by the patient without any symptoms, the moving belt will be stopped. Even after completing running on the belt, your heart rate and BP are monitored for few more minutes with ECG while you take rest.

Once you are done with the test, all the wires connected to your chest will be detached and te gel will be wiped off. Your doctor will review the ECG of all the stages of the test and explain you the results of the test. Please be aware that TMT may rarely(0.1%) lead to some complications like giddiness, abnormal heart beat and severe chest pain that needs urgent treatment.

Visit Dr. Hari Kiran for a Treadmill Test

Dr. Hari Kiran has been conducting exercise tests for more than 10 years.  He is widely known for conducting best health checkups and diagnostic labs in Hyderabad. If you want to undergo a treadmill test, book your appointment right away.

Consultant Interventional Cardiologist
Dr Hari Kiran

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