General Exercise Tests

The treadmill exercise (stress) test using the Bruce protocol

This is a test where you walk on a treadmill. The treadmill speeds up every three minutes and also becomes steeper. During the test your heart rate and rhythm and blood pressure are recorded. In addition the electrical signals from your heart are recorded on an ECG recorder.

 In order to pass this test you must be able to complete 9 minutes on the treadmill without

  • angina
  • drop in blood pressure
  • heart rhythm disturbance
  • or the heart tracing suggesting that there is a problem with the overall blood supply of the heart.

If you develop a heart rhythm disturbance called Atrial Fibrillation you will need to have an Echocardiogram (see below) to meet the licensing criteria.

The DVLA updated the rules regarding exercise testing in March 2016. These changes have been adopted by Transport for London. 

You no longer have to stop any of the tablets you are taking before treadmill exercise testing.

If you are not sure about your medication you can discuss this with us before the test.

Some drivers are unable to walk on a treadmill safely eg those with arthritis of the hip. In these cases an alternative can be used. This is known as a "functional test".

In practical terms this generally involves a Stress Echocardiogram (See below). However in some cases other tests eg a nuclear medicine scan will be acceptable.

In a few cases the initial ECG shows a condition called left bundle branch block then a treadmill exercise test is not acceptable and a functional test has to be performed.

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