Cardiac Stress Test
Our Approach for Stress Tests
If you have symptoms of coronary artery disease (CAD), we offer several types of stress tests to help diagnose the condition. Our comprehensive stress testing combines advanced equipment with experienced care providers to produce detailed results for precise treatment planning of heart disease.
Our doctors and imaging technologists also use stress tests to monitor your heart health, evaluate the effectiveness of treatment, and assess your ability to exercise after a heart attack or surgery.
WHAT WE OFFER YOU FOR STRESS TESTS
Nationally recognized expertise, with skilled cardiologists who have extensive experience in reading and interpreting stress tests and imaging test results
Precise diagnosis options that combine the latest stress test equipment with the expertise of our experienced doctors and imaging technologists
Personalized care through a variety of advanced options for stress tests that accommodate your abilities and provide high-quality results
What Is a Stress Test?
About Stress Test
A stress test uses electrocardiogram (EKG) to evaluate the blood supply to your heart while your heart rate is elevated. During a stress test, you either exercise or take medication to make your heart work harder and beat faster. We record your heart activity with an EKG as your heart rate increases. We also monitor breathing and blood pressure.
A stress test can show areas of poor blood flow to the heart and help diagnose heart be a sign of heart conditions including:
- Coronary artery disease (CAD)
If you are experiencing symptoms such as shortness of breath or chest pain, we use stress tests to detect abnormal changes in your blood pressure or heart rate or rhythm that occur as you increase your physical activity. This information helps us rule out certain conditions, establish a diagnosis, and plan treatment options such as a pacemaker or other minimally invasive procedure.
Stress tests can evaluate how well treatments and devices are working. Some treatments we can assess include:
- Arrhythmia medications that control heart rate and rhythm
- Heart bypass, also known as coronary artery bypass graft surgery
- Percutaneous coronary intervention, or coronary angioplasty
- Pacemaker and implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) implantation
- Stent placement
- Cardiac ablation
What to Expect
A stress test may be performed on an outpatient basis or as part of your stay in a hospital. Procedures may vary depending on condition and your doctor's practices.
Before the Procedure
The doctor or a nurse will explain the procedure and offer the opportunity for patients to ask questions about the procedure. Patients will then be asked to sign a consent form that gives permission to perform the test. Read the form carefully and ask questions if something is not clear.
Patients should notify the doctor about all medications (prescription and over-the-counter) and herbal supplements that they are taking.
During the test, we monitor the electrical activity of the heart and we ask patients to breathe through a face mask. This allows us to monitor oxygen uptake. At the beginning and end of the test, we do an ultrasound (echocardiogram) to look at the heart.
If patients are physically unable to walk/jog on a treadmill, please alert the staff to allow for an alternative (e.g. switch to a cardiac stress test using a drug). Once on the treadmill, the speed and incline will be gradually increased until symptoms or fatigue, pain, or cardiac abnormality occurs.
- You will be asked to fast for a few hours before the procedure. You should not smoke for two hours prior to the procedure. Do not have any caffeine or caffeine products for 24 hours
- If you are pregnant or suspect that you may be pregnant, you should notify your doctor
- Notify your doctor of all medications (prescription and over-the-counter) and herbal supplements that you are taking
Exercise Stress Test
We estimate how much exercise we think the patient will be able to perform, then we grade the treadmill so that the patient will reach this level in about 10 minutes.
- Wear flat shoes that are comfortable for walking and loose-fitting pants or shorts. Women should wear a short-sleeved top that fastens in the front for ease of attaching the ECG electrodes to the chest
- The area(s) where the electrodes are to be placed may be shaved
- The doctor may request other specific preparations depending on certain medical conditions
Drug (Pharmacologic) stress test
Before the stress test, fasting may be required. The doctor will give instructions as to how long patients should withhold food and/or liquids. In some cases, cigarettes and caffeinated beverages, such as coffee, tea, and cola, may be restricted several hours before testing.
Notify the doctor if:
- Patients are allergic to or sensitive to medications or latex;
- Patients are pregnant or suspect they may be pregnant; or
- Patients have a pacemaker
Based upon the medical condition, the doctor may request some other specific preparation.