What is a TMT test?

The Treadmill Test, often known as the TMT, is an electrocardiogram (ECG) test performed while jogging on a treadmill. It keeps an eye on cardiac rhythms. You can do it while riding a stationary bike as well. The TMT test for the heart entails keeping an eye on blood pressure, breaths per minute, and heartbeat. The stress test is another name for TMT.

Typically, doctors advise TMT to patients who experience angina symptoms (chest discomfort brought on by a blockage of blood flow to the heart), have had a previous heart attack, or have had bypass surgery.

What is the need for the TMT Test for the Heart?

The TMT test examines your heart’s ability to manage stress and aids in diagnosing cardiac problems. If you are having heart surgery, receiving cardiac therapy, or beginning a rigorous exercise regimen, your doctor might advise that you get a TMT test. Other causes for which a physician could advise a TMT test include:

  • Diagnosis of coronary artery disease or damage brought on by the buildup of cholesterol or other substances (plaques).
  • A heart arrhythmia diagnosis can happen due to faulty electrical impulse coordination.
  • Prepare a plan for treating cardiac conditions.
  • Cardiovascular health evaluation

If you experience one or more of the symptoms listed below, a TMT test may also be advised.

  • Fast heartbeat
  • Dizziness 
  • Chest pain
  • Breathing difficulty 
  • Irregular heartbeat

What is the normal range of TMT?

You will be required to exercise at a heart rate of around 85% of your maximum during the TMT test. You may calculate your maximal heart rate by deducting 220 from your age. 

A negative or positive result for the TMT test is possible. A negative TMT test means that the patient’s ECG result did not change when the patient’s heart rate reached that level. A positive TMT result, however, denotes the presence of post-workload ECG report modifications. Doctors also assess how quickly your heart rate returns to the regular following activity. The recovery is computed by deducting the peak heart rate from the heart rate one minute after exercise. 

Your age affects the stress test’s desired heart rate. The maximum expected heart rate for adults is 220 less than your age. Therefore, the maximum projected heart rate for someone 40 years of age is 220 – 40 = 180.

  • < 12 bpm in a walking recovery – Abnormal 
  • > 12 bpm in a walking recovery – Normal 
  • < 18 bpm while lying on the back – Abnormal
  • > 18 bpm while lying on the back – Normal 

Your tolerance to exercise can also be calculated through the TMT test. These values are calculated in terms of metabolic equivalents or METS. METS refers to the uptake of oxygen expressed in kg/minute. The inferences that can be drawn from the TMT test are listed below:

  • < 5 METS- Poor 
  • 5 – 8 METS – Fair 
  • 9 – 11 METS- Good
  • > 12 METS – Any METS score above 10 indicates a 5-year survival rate of around 95%. 

Procedure of the TMT test

A test on an exercise treadmill is completed without hospitalisation. The patient is required to use a treadmill while connected to an ECG monitor, which measures their heartbeat throughout the test.

It is great if the patient comes to the diagnostic facility empty-handed. To avoid any discomfort or trouble when walking on the treadmill, it is advised that the patient wears suitable walking shoes.

After receiving complete consent, the patient is connected to the monitor by way of several ECG leads on the chest wall. During the exam, female patients will be given a robe to wear. The patient will need to have their chest exposed in order to apply the ECG leads to their chest.

The stepwise procedure of the TMT test:

  • The doctor or a technician will give a treadmill walking demonstration. The patient will be instructed to stand on the treadmill once they are at ease.
  • The patient is then instructed to start walking on the treadmill at a steady rate while maintaining a straight back and forward gaze. While initially, this could seem a little challenging, there is no need to be concerned since the technician or the doctor will provide the direction and assistance necessary to ensure the patient’s comfort.
  • The treadmill has a little inclination and initially goes at a slow speed (depending on the type of test). One has the impression of climbing a hill. The physician will take the patient’s blood pressure and record it every three minutes.
  • The treadmill will also speed up and incline a little bit at the same time. Both blood pressure and heart rate will be tracked continuously.
  • The treadmill test is divided into sections, each of which lasts three minutes. The exam becomes a little bit tougher with each level.
  • The test will be interrupted at any moment at the request of the patient or the doctor if the patient has any chest discomfort or is unable to walk comfortably on the treadmill.
  • Before the test is finished, the patient will be instructed to unwind for a while and another BP reading will be obtained.
  • The full exam may be completed in between 30 and 45 minutes. This all depends on the patient’s ability to exercise as well as the data gathered throughout the exam.
  • The patient will be requested to put on clothing after the exam, and the ECG leads will be removed.
  • The report is made available right after following the exam. Depending on the findings, suggestions for more research could also be made.

The risk of a TMT test

TMT is a secure examination carried out by medical experts in a secure setting. There are hazards associated with the TMT test, particularly for people who are asymptomatic, thus it should not be performed without a good cause. It can result in undue worry and elevated blood pressure if the patient has no signs of heart disease and the test results are positive. 

Additionally, TMT can occasionally cause patients to have a heart attack. But these situations are uncommon. According to a study, one in ten thousand persons who undergo TMT may get a heart attack.

The following are some additional dangers connected to the TMT test:

  • Walking on a treadmill and collapsing or fainting
  • An irregular heartbeat for a long time
  • Experiencing chest pain

Final thoughts 

A Treadmill stress test or TMT (CAD) is a safe, non-invasive, and reasonably priced screening procedure for the identification of coronary artery disorders. For those who have a higher risk of developing cardiovascular problems, it is a crucial diagnostic procedure. You will be able to assess your health state more accurately now that you are aware of what a TMT test is, who the ideal test candidates are, and what the results of the test report signify.

Book The TMT Test Today!