Treadmill Stress Test

Directions on preparing for a stress (heart exercise) test.


A treadmill stress test or exercise tolerance test is a test to indirectly measure the heart’s capacity to work.  It estimates the ability of the coronary arteries to supply blood to the heart.  The test also helps diagnose possible cardiac abnormalities that may not be present while at rest or during normal activities.

An exercise test may be done as part of a diagnostic workup for suspected heart disease, or following recovery from a heart attack or heart surgery.  It may also be recommended for people who are about to start a vigorous exercise or conditioning program, especially if they were previously sedentary.  Your response to current medications can also be evaluated.


If your treadmill test is in the morning, you may have a light breakfast.  If it is scheduled in the afternoon, you may have a light lunch.  If you are having other tests that require special preparation, adjust these instructions accordingly.

24 Hours Prior

  • Do not drink or eat any caffeine (coffee, tea, cola or chocolate.) 
  • No alcohol
  • No smoking.
  • Do not take any caffeine-containing medications (Anacin, Excedrin, No-Doz, Darvon, etc.)
  • Wear loose fitting shorts or slacks and a pair of lightweight, flat-heeled shoes, preferably tennis shoes.
  • Check with your ordering doctor about taking any medications before the test.
  • Do not apply any lotion or powder to your chest, as they may prevent the EKG electrodes from staying in place.  It may be necessary for the technician to shave small areas on your chest where the electrodes will be applied.


During the stress test, you will walk on a treadmill for one to 15 minutes depending on your tolerance; however, plan at least one hour for the exam, as preparation and follow-up monitoring is required.  A physician or nurse practitioner will be present during the stress test.

EKG leads and a blood pressure cuff will be applied to monitor your heart before, during and after exercise.  The treadmill is started at a very low speed, gradually increasing the speed and incline every few minutes.

Your heart rate and blood pressure will change with the increased level of activity.  When your heart rate reaches a predetermined rate, or you show extreme fatigue, cardiac disturbances or other symptoms, the test will be stopped.


A cardiologist will interpret the stress test.  The results will be reviewed by the ordering physician who will contact you with your results.

Your treadmill stress test is scheduled for:

Date:  _________________

Arrival Time:  _________________

Test Time:  _________________

______  St. Elizabeth Hospital
             1506 S. Oneida St.
             (920)738-2030 or (800)223-7332  ext. 2030

 ______  Mercy Medical Center
             500 S. Oakwood Rd.

If you have any questions contact the ordering physician.

If you need to reschedule your exam, please call Central Scheduling at (920) 738-2030 for the Appletonarea, (920) 223-1246 for the Oshkosh area or (920) 849-3890 for the Chilton area.

Revised 10/05/06

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(920) 738-2000

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