The test administrator or attending physician examines the symptoms and blood pressure response. With the use of ECG, the test is most commonly called a cardiac stress test but is known by other names, such as exercise testing, stress testing, or treadmill test.
It is very common to find heart patients who have normal ECG. One must remember that the ECGs are taken at rest when the heart is beating at its lowest rate. In some of the cases, the patient would also agree that at the time of rest there is no pain in the chest, the angina symptoms would only come when they increase the heart rate while doing some physical exertion like walking.
In this condition, where we need a TMT test. The patients might gradually increase their heart rate, thus increasing the blood requirement of the heart muscles. Simultaneously ECG records are taken.
A stress test generally takes up to 90 minutes from beginning to end. The actual exercising part of the test takes only 20 minutes. The patient is brought to the test room where the technician or nurse records his/her heart rate and blood pressure at rest. The electrodes that have been placed on the patient’s chest are connected to wires that are linked to the ECG machine
The treadmill is switched on at a rather slow ‘warm-up’ speed and gradually the incline of the treadmill is increased every three minutes. This is a pre-set program, which regulates the exact speed and incline of the treadmill. During the stress test, the patient’s blood pressure is recorded at the second minute in every stage, but the recordings could be more frequent if necessary. The patient’s ECG is recorded both on paper and on the monitor, and the doctor constantly monitors the blood pressure, heart rate, and any alterations in the pattern of the ECG looking for irregularities if any.
The stress test is not a risky procedure and patients generally stand the stress well. Of course they may feel fatigued because they have to undergo the stress of the exercise, but otherwise, things are normal. Once the test has been completed, the patient is usually advised to gradually decrease the intensity of his activity over a period of many minutes.