Diagnostic Tests & Procedures
Text Size: Reduce text size  Enlarge text size

Stress Tests - ETT

Exercise treadmill testing (ETT) is used to stress the heart to bring out symptoms or signs of heart disease under controlled circumstances and careful monitoring. Information obtained during this test is useful in the diagnosis and management of many heart conditions including chest pain, coronary blockages, heart rhythm disturbances, and shortness of breath. Exercise usually involves walking on a treadmill while recording your electrocardiogram (EKG) and blood oxygen content. After each 3-minute stage, the treadmill goes a little higher and faster until a target heart rate is reached. Our personnel are highly skilled and work under the direct supervision of a cardiologist and are prepared for any emergency situation. This test is very safe and is the most common test for the diagnosis and management of symptoms of heart disease.

Doctor administering ETT

A regular ETT is often used as a screening test. Sometimes imaging with Echo (Echo Stress Test) or Nuclear Cameras (Nuclear Stress Test) is used in conjunction with exercise to increase the power of the test. In those situations where patients cannot walk on a treadmill an intravenous injection of Dobutamine is used to stress the heart and mimic walking on the treadmill.

What to expect:

  • Medications are often held for the day prior to the test. Please check with our office if there is any question, especially if you are taking a beta blocker medicine such as Lopressor, Metoprolol or Atenolol.
  • Do not eat or drink anything except water for four hours before the test.
  • If you use an inhaler, bring it to the test.
  • Please wear comfortable clothes and sneakers or similar shoes.
  • The nurse will place ten electrodes on your chest. The electrodes allow us to record your EKG and pulse rate during the test.
  • Before starting exercise, an EKG will be recorded along with your blood pressure.
  • The treadmill will start, and you will start to exercise.
  • At select intervals, an EKG will be recorded, along with your blood pressure.
  • You may be asked about any symptoms you may have.
  • The entire test takes approximately 30 minutes.
Southcoast Physicians Group An affiliate of Southcoast Physicians Group.