What is a Treadmill Stress Test?

  • A Treadmill Stress Test records the heart's electrical activity (rate and rhythm) during exercise.
  • During the test, the cardiologist and a technician are present.
  • Electrodes will be placed on the chest the same as for an electrocardiogram (EKG).
  • The patient will be asked to walk on a motorized treadmill.
  • The speed and incline of the treadmill will be gradually increased.
  • The doctor will be looking for changes in the EKG pattern and any symptoms that the patient may experience.
  • The patient may be on the treadmill for up to 15 minutes, depending upon his level of recovery and cardiovascular conditioning.
  • The test will be stopped if the patient becomes too tired, has any symptoms such as chest pain.
  • The test will last about 30 minutes.
  • This test must be ordered by a doctor.

Why is a Treadmill Stress Test done?

  • This test will help the doctor evaluate the patient's cardiac condition related to:
    • Irregular heart rhythms
    • If there is a decreased supply of blood and oxygen to the heart with exercise.
    • How hard the heart can work before symptoms develop
    • How quickly the heart recovers after exercise
    • The patient's overall level of cardiovascular conditioning
    • What his exercise target heart rate (THR) should be

What Preparation is Needed?

  • Nothing to eat except water four hours prior to test
  • No caffeine or smoking at least 4 hours prior to test.
  • It is important for the patient to ask his doctor:
    • how to adjust insulin and food intake prior to the test if he is a diabetic
    • if he should take his regular medications the morning of the test
    • if he is on a Beta Blocker, can he STOP taking this medication 72 hours before the test as this is recommended for best results
  • Do not apply lotions, oils or powders to the chest area
  • Wear comfortable clothing (shorts or pants with shirt or blouse) and walking or jogging shoes.


  • Pre-register 1-3 days prior to the day the test is scheduled. This will save considerable time on the day of test. Please call 310-517-4754 to pre-register.
  • Plan to arrive 15 minutes before the scheduled time of the test.
  • Enter the hospital through the main lobby.
  • Go directly to the Cardiology Department which is located in the basement.
  • Take the Silver elevators to the left of the lobby to the basement.
  • If not pre-registered, plan to arrive an hour before the scheduled time of the test and first check in at the information desk in the main lobby in order to register.