Treadmill As Diagnostic Tool
A new scoring system used in
treadmill testing may help physicians improve their accuracy in diagnosing
heart disease, according to a study presented at the American Heart
Association Scientific Sessions.
Treadmill tests have been used for decades to help diagnose
atherosclerosis, the narrowing of coronary arteries that can lead to a heart
attack or stroke.
The treadmill test, also called an exercise stress test, helps physicians
learn how well an individual's heart handles physical exertion. The test
measures heart rate, blood pressure and the electrical function of the heart
as the patient walks on a treadmill.
The speed at which the patient walks gradually increases, requiring the
body to use more oxygen and the heart to pump harder. Treadmill test results
can show if there's a lack of blood supply through the arteries that go to
A diagnosis of heart disease is made by using results of the treadmill
test, along with other "clinical" information, such as medical problems and
An angiogram - an X-ray of the blood vessel - can be used to confirm the
diagnosis, said Dr. Victor Froelicher of Stanford University Medical School,
lead researcher of the study.