The treadmill stress test records the heart’s electrical activity, including rate and rhythm, during exercise, most often for the diagnosis of coronary artery disease. Exercise places stress on the heart, and performing a treadmill stress test can bring out abnormalities caused by partial blockages in the coronary arteries, abnormalities that may not be apparent at rest.
There are several types of stress test, and each is slightly different in the way it’s performed.
Exercise Stress Test: A test performed using electrocardiogram (EKG) electrodes to closely monitor your heart rhythm, blood pressure, and heart rate while you’re walking and resting. This is sometimes called a treadmill stress test.
Stress Echocardiogram: An imaging test that utilizes cardiac ultrasound, or an echo, while you walk on a treadmill to visualize how your heart moves during exercise and at rest.
Nuclear Stress Test: An imaging test that uses a specialized dye that shows up under X-ray and medications that simulate physical stress on your heart. Images are taken while your heart is at rest, and while it’s under stress, which is typically done at an imaging center.