The Resting ECG (electrocardiograph) is an electrical recording of the heart, performed whilst the driver is resting.  The ECG is known as a 12 lead ECG, which is somewhat misleading as in fact there are only 10 wires.  We attach the wires to the chest via self-adhesive electrodes, which are like small sticky plasters.  Using these electrodes we can measure the minute electrical impulses produced by the heart and transmitted through the skin.  From this we can build 12 different pictures of the heart beat - hence the term “12 lead ECG”.  By looking at the particular patterns produced by the different leads we are able to make a diagnosis concerning the way in which the heart is working.  The test is very quick, taking only 5 – 10 minutes and is totally painless – apart from when we have to peel off the sticky electrodes!

Resting ECGs

A Stress ECG is exactly what is says.  It is an electrical recording of the heart, performed whilst under stress.  The stress that we use is that produced by walking on a treadmill, the speed and gradient is adjusted every 3 minutes according to the Bruce Protocol.  This Protocol is named after Professor Bruce who was an American Physician and designed a way of standardising Stress ECGs. The test is continued until a target heart rate is achieved and this is normally defined as 220 minus your age.  Therefore, for a 45 year old driver we would expect to exercise you until your heart rate reached its theoretical maximum of 175 bpm.  During the test ECG traces are recorded at 1 minute intervals and then for a further 10 minutes in the recovery period following attainment of the maximum heart rate.

The test is looking for changes in the ECG which may occur as a result of poor blood supply to the heart.  The poor blood supply may well be due to a blockage in a heart artery.  The test however, is not a perfect test and about 15% of drivers will have what is known as a false positive result.  What we mean by this is that the test shows “abnormalities” which may well be normal for the individual and not actually due to any heart disease.  The problem then arises that we have to prove that this is the case and is not due to any underlying heart problems.  This necessarily involves further testing  such as thalliam scanning and angiograms. Motor Racing Medics can advise on how to proceed with the most appropriate investigations.

Whilst Motor Racing Medics are able to conduct stress testing in accordance with the FIA requirement and have these tests reported by a Consultant Cardiologist, they are not liable for the cost of any further investigations which may be required as a result of an abnormal test result

Stress Related ECGs

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