Went to the Hospital, along with Hubby, for a Health check up last week. The package included Cardiac tests like ECG, 2D-Echo and Treadmill Test (TMT), Ultrasound scan of the Abdomen, Lipid profile, Bone Mass Density , Thyroid , Hepatitis B and C , Chem 20 etc.
After giving blood samples , we went for the Cardiac tests. ECG was taken and 2D-Echo was also done. I was not interested in doing the TMT because I was sure that I will fail the test. I am not a fan of any kind of exercise . Am too lazy to do any form of exercise and always find some excuse to skip doing any exercise. Whenever there is a need to walk real fast ,I feel some pain in the center of my chest. I always had this feeling that I have a weak heart, a heart that is unable to pump fast and hence I have this pain.
While I was getting up after the 2D-echo was completed , the technician tells me to go for the TMT. I looked at her and asked ‘should I go?’. She must have thought I am crazy. She nodded, I said Ok and walked out .
I had earlier read that TMT is recommended only after an ECG and 2D Echo are done to guage the condition of the heart. So, when the Technician recommended to go for the TMT without telling me about any hesitation or precaution , I assumed that things are normal. I came out and told hubby that I will do the TMT.
I went inside the TMT room and the Technician there quickly attached several probes all over my chest . These wires were connected to a flat rectangular device that was tightly strapped around my upper waist. Several wires from this device were connected to a Monitor next to the Tread Mill. A BP checking apparatus was strapped on my upper arm.
The Technician asked me if I have any pain in the knees. I shook my head and she then told me that the test will last approximately 8 minutes. 3 minutes at a slow speed, the next 3 minutes at a higher speed and the TreadMill would be slightly inclined and the last 2 minutes the speed would be further increased and further inclined. She also told me to tell her if I experienced any pain.
I start walking and felt quite comfortable for 6 minutes. I was ready for the last two minutes and was getting prepared to tell her to stop if required. I stopped looking at the time on the monitor and continued to walk. I did not experience any pain and I completed the 2 minutes too. The Treadmill was stopped abruptly and I was told to sit down on the chair next to the TreadMill. I did not like the way the TreadMill was stopped suddenly.I had always read that it is not correct to abruptly stop running or jogging and one has to gradually reduce the speed and then stop.
The moment I sat down I noticed that my heart was racing. Felt as though it would burst or it may stop. All the probes were still connected and the Technician was watching the monitor. I was scared and was angry with myself for going ahead with the test. What if I had a Heart attack now. Funny thing was that I didn’t feel my heart beating this fast while doing the last 2 minutes. It was only when I sat down, that the beating could be felt.
I was sitting and telling my heart to slow down …please slow down …. please be good and calm down …. I started taking long breaths hoping the heart will slow down quickly . Oh My God those three minutes of my heart racing was a scary experience.
Finally took a long breath and was able to smile. All the while I was telling the Technician that I had never exercised this hard.
I successfully completed the test and all the parameters were normal. Yayyy , I did it !! 🙂
So glad I don’t have to worry about my Heart any more. But I need to get back to my walking routine which I had stopped.
My conclusion : One can go ahead with the Treadmill Test without any hesitation as the Technician would know whether the person should go ahead or not. But it is advisable to have a Cardiologist around during the process.
Had read that there is an alternative method to stimulate the heart by injecting a medication, The patient would be in a resting state while the heart beat would increase and the parameters would then be monitored. This method is used for those who are unable to walk on the Treadmill for various reasons.