An electrocardiogram (ECG) is a simple test that can be used to check your heart’s rhythm and electrical activity. Sensors attached to the skin are used to detect the electrical signals produced by your heart each time it beats. These signals are recorded by a machine and are looked at by a doctor to see if they’re unusual. The whole test takes a few minutes and is completely painless. You will need to lie still as moving can affect the results.
An Exercise Tolerance Test (ETT), through the use of exercise treadmill/bike testing, can be useful for identifying early signs of coronary artery disease. Although a resting Electrocardiogram (ECG) can detect and demonstrate a number of abnormalities, the presence of a normal resting ECG does not rule out the possibility of significant coronary artery disease. Therefore an Exercise Tolerance Test (ETT) can provide the cardiologist with more accurate and useful information.
The treadmill starts at a walking pace on a slight incline and gets steeper and faster every three minutes, until either the patient or the supervising member of staff ends the test. The test is unlikely to progress to a running speed, but on occasion this is needed to stress the heart to an appropriate level.