Thursday, December 6, 2007

Tread-Mill Test

Did a tread-mill test this past Monday at TTSH. In a tread-mill test, you will be asked to walk/run on a tread-mill, that's why it is called a tread-mill test anyway; at the same time, they will check your ECG as well as blood pressure.

When your heart pumps harder and harder as you walk/run faster and faster, if there is any anormality is observed in your ECG or blood pressure, then you may have some serious trouble with your heart.

Before the test, the nurse will ask you some questions such as do you smoke, did you have flu in the past week or so, any drug allegic, etc. Then they will explain to you the potential risk, which is if you really have a heart problem, the tread-mill test might just trigger a heart attack! Scary, isn't it?

How reliable the test is, as usual, very much depends on the patient and how professional those people who do the test for you. Just imagine, you are not walking/running with a dozen of wires on your body, and from time to time, that arm band for blood pressure measurement will compress your blood vessels. Anything can happen, the accuracy of the equipment is also a factor.

During the test, the nurses observed something strange, not on me, but the ECG machine. They tried to figure out why the display was different under different screen. That really made me doubt whether they actually KNOW how to use the machine correctly.

One of the Singaporean Chinese lady nurse on-duty obviously has a slacking mentality. She just wanted to finish quickly, nothing else was really important. Hard to see any professionalism.

You see, human factor is forever the least predictable variable in any engineering design. Any equipment, no matter how expensive it is, will be totally useless/worthless if the owner/operator is not using it the correct way. A good example? Just look at how many crappy photos coming out from those super expensive cameras. Go figure...

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