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Exercise treadmill

An ETT records the electrical activity of the heart on an electrocardiogram (EKG) and takes blood pressure readings while you walk on the exercise treadmill.

The ETT is used to:

  • Check for heart disease
  • Determine if treatment for heart disease is effective

When is it used?

An ETT is performed when your healthcare provider thinks you might have heart disease. The most common heart disease is caused by narrowing of the coronary arteries. The coronary arteries are the blood vessels that supply blood, oxygen and nutrients to the heart. The arteries can become narrowed when substances such as cholesterol build up inside the artery.

How do I prepare for the procedure?

  • Do not eat for two hours before the test
  • Ask your healthcare provider if you should take your regular medicines before the test

What happens during the procedure?

Small, sticky patches or suction cups are placed on your back and chest for the EKG. Blood pressure and the EKG are recorded while you are resting. You then start a slow walk on the treadmill. The speed and the upward slope of the treadmill are gradually increased. The EKG is watched constantly, and your blood pressure is measured at each speed increase.

The ETT is stopped if:

  • Your EKG or blood pressure change a lot
  • You have chest pain
  • You become too tired to continue
  • A set workload is reached
    Note: The workload is a target heart rate that is at least 85% of 220 minus your age.

What is the benefit?

ETT is one of the safest and most widely used tests for heart disease in the United States. It is a quick way to check your heart's arteries for narrowing or blockage. Your healthcare provider uses it to help decide whether you need more tests.



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