Сardiac Stress Tests
Treadmill test as well as bicycle ergometry are the most common methods from the category called cardiac stress tests – ECG is recorded while a patent does particular exercises. Main aim of such tests is to measure the ability of the heart to respond to certain physical stress in a controlled environment. Cardiac stress tests are mainly used to diagnose coronary heart disease, their most important advantages are – noninvasiveness, virtually unlimited availability and low cost.
When undergoing treadmill test patient walks or runs at a certain speed on a moving treadmill. The intensity of the physical activity depends on the speed and angle of the track. It is obligatory to monitor heart rate, electrocardiogram, breathing and blood pressure of the patient during this test.
The procedure can be terminated anytime if the patient experiences worsening of his or hers condition. The movement of the patient is forced during the test, that means he or she should adapt to the track speed.
There is no significant difference between the treadmill test and bicycle ergometry, however, it is believed that the workload performed on the treadmill is more natural and familiar to the patient.
This type of cardiac stress test can be considered as an alternative to the treadmill test in patients with orthopedic, vascular and neurological diseases. Moreover, it is a cheaper and more portable system for the cardiac stress tests.
The procedure involves certain physical activity on an exercise bicycle performed in 2 or 2.5 hours after a meal (but not on an empty stomach).
There are three periods of the process – initial, direct workload and recovery period:
- the first period includes measuring of blood pressure, heart rate and ECG recording in calm state before the workout beginning;
- during the workload period patient being in the sitting position should spin the pedals of the bicycle with certain speed and measured power. Gradually medical specialist increases the load power, monitors ECG and heart rate constantly and checks blood pressure every 2-3 minutes;
- during the recovery period the patient is resting but the monitoring of the heart functioning is not stopped, because it’s important to know how soon the recorded parameters can restore to their normal limits.