Breathless during treadmill test - British Heart Fou...

British Heart Foundation
18,293 members12,433 posts

Breathless during treadmill test


Hi, I wonder if anyone on here has had same experience as me and ever found out the reason.

I had a treadmill test a few years ago after becoming less and less able to do things. After 3 minutes on the treadmill I was helped off by 2 nurses as I was extremely breathless. My breathing was not good from about 1 minute in but I tried to keep going to get as much info as possible from the test. Apart from my reaction the results were apparently "fine". I had another one 18 months ago and same thing happened, maybe managed 4 minutes that time but very breathless again. I have had all breathing tests, all good for my age (49). I have had perfusion scan, CT scan, 3 angiograms and nothing showed up that can explain my symptoms.

I do now have diagnosis of " possible coronary artery spasms" due to troponin rise episodes and chest pain but nobody can give any explanation as to why I cant complete these stress tests. Could it be Microvascular Angina? Nobody has mentioned this condition to me.

As the months pass I get worse and worse and it seems to be impossible to get my questions answered.

8 Replies

I got told before I had a treadmill test it’s not asked for until the doc thinks u’ve got to the point where u’ll struggle wiv it so I guess it’s to see how much u struggle wiv it.

I did a pr course, the physio said don't worry about getting out of breath, in fact we want you to. I also did a bike test equipped with a facemask, oximter, ecg and blood pressure thing. At the start i thought this is easy but the resistance went up. I went as far as i could, at the end i was so knackered i couldn't get off the bike for five minutes. At the end of the pr course i did a bleep test which got my sats down to 71, the physio said If i did that I'd be in a&e. So don't worry


I did a few as part of Cardio Rehab (Before, During and after). Every time one of my group was going for one, the physio instructor told us to do it until we couldn't and then go on another 3 minutes. She told us we were in a cardiac hospital so we had no reason to be afraid. None of us ever had a problem other than being unable to stand / walk for 5 minutes afterwards.

Seems the cardiologist gets the most information this way and that gets fed back to the physio instructor too.


Hi scottish1,

I'm sorry you have been experiencing these symptoms. You have mentioned many investigations which have all been reassuring,but I was wondering if you have had an echocardiogram? This is an ultrasound which looks at the heart valves as well as the overall structures. Over time they can become narrow or 'leak' which may cause symptoms in some people.If you haven't had one,, perhaps ask you doctor if he can refer you..

To become so short of breath on a minimal incline, would necessitate some further tests to exclude a cardiac condition. You may need to be referred to a cardiologist in order to confirm a diagnosis.

it might be worth seeing your GP to see if there is any medication to help resolve your symptoms which should improve your quality of life too.

If you would like to talk things through with one of the helpline nurses,the number is 0300-330-3311. There is someone to talk to from Monday- Friday from 9-5.

I hope I've helped.

Take Care,


Hi, yes I had an echo in October after an episode of severe chest pain, vomiting, soaking in sweat which resolved after 30 minutes although did produce a troponin rise again. I was told it was ok and episode is stated as coronary artery spasm probable cause. No mention of it being heart attack which I think it was regardless of cause. This makes my gp very blasé over my episodes and problems as they do not consider it "serious", but rather more of a pest.

I am on lots of drugs, Clopidogrel, Statin, Nifedipine, Nicorandil, Isosorbide Mononitrate and gtn spray yet still getting daily symptoms.

I can tell if there is any incline in the ground, I instantly get very tired.

Now I wonder if the drugs are contributing to my feeling of exhaustion.

Hi Scottish, I can sence your frustration at the lack of a specific diagnosis, I know from experience that tese things can often go un-explained for a very long time. Be patient and push your local GP and cardio unit to cover all the necessary basis. As others have said to you perhps and Echocadiograph may be the way to go at this stage.

I did one of those too a few years back. I wasn't too bad at the start but when I was told you will feel you are running up a hill I think I managed a few minutes and I mean minutes and that was it. I felt so breathless and tired. To the amusement of my teenage daughter who wished she had of been with me to see how I got on. Once I left the room and got my breath back I didn't feel too bad. It was after this I was tested for angina which was over-ruled and advised at my last review appointment I had a heart defect but wasn't offered any advice. Also experience ectopic heartbeats and it was discovered on my last ECG a pattern of LBBB. Apparently I am due to be reviewed some time this year but nothing as yet

You may also like...