What is a stress test?
Also known as an exercise test or treadmill test, a stress test is used to evaluate how well your heart functions during physical activity. Exercising causes your heart to pump faster and work harder. Monitoring this activity can help reveal issues with your heart health and blood flow.
ECCA also provides nuclear stress testing. Nuclear stress testing uses a radioactive dye that’s injected intravenously and absorbed by the heart. Images are taken with a radiation detecting camera while you’re at rest and during physical activity.
Nuclear stress testing provides detailed information about your heart health and function. These tests are typically required when a conventional stress test yields no useful results.
Why is stress testing performed?
Stress tests are performed to identify a number of cardiac health concerns. They are routinely used to diagnose and determine the severity of coronary artery disease.
The coronary arteries are the major blood vessels that carry blood, oxygen, and nutrients to the heart. These structures can become damaged or diseased through a number of factors, including smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and inactivity.
Heart arrhythmia is another condition commonly diagnosed with stress testing. Heart arrhythmia refers to issues with your heart rhythm that can cause it to beat too quickly, slowly, or irregularly.
Stress tests can guide treatment decisions and determine how well your treatment is working. Stress tests also determine the need for procedures like cardiac surgery.
What should I expect during stress testing?
Prior to the test, you and your ECCA doctor discuss your symptoms, medical history, and activity level. The amount of exercise needed for the test depends on your individual activity level.
Your provider then attaches electrodes to your chest, legs, and arms, which feed information into an electrocardiogram machine. A device may also be used to check how well you breathe during physical activity.
Stress tests either take place on a treadmill or stationary bike. You increase your level of physical activity until the intended heart rate is reached.
If you’re unable to exercise, your doctor administers a drug that mimics the effects of exercise on your blood flow and heart. A stress test only takes about an hour, and you can return to your normal activities afterward.
To schedule stress testing, book an appointment by phone or online today with ECCA.