Cardiac Stress Test

What Is a Cardiac Stress Test & What Does Heart Testing Involve?

A stress test or an exercise stress test is often referred to as a cardiac stress test and is typically performed to rule out coronary artery disease. This procedure is a combination of several different tests that measure one’s heart rate, heart rhythm, blood pressure, target heart rate, and signs of coronary artery disease. These specific measurements help measure the heart’s ability to respond to external stress. Cardiac stress tests are always performed in a controlled environment. Under a watchful eye of a licensed physician.

Stress test results are useful in diagnosing cardiovascular disease and abnormal blood flow to the heart’s muscle tissue. It can also be combined with an ultrasound of the heart, which is referred to as a 2D ECHO. Our Beverly Hills office is equipped with a cardiac stress test machine. Along with a stress echocardiogram and other equipment to rule out heart disease.

Who Should have Cardiac Stress Testing?

A stress test is useful for athletes to rule out abnormalities of the heart, as well as anyone who is experiencing angina or signs of heart disease. The tests are also a part of a pre-op workup to determine one’s cardiac health before surgery. Patients should consider having a cardiac workup if:

  • They suffer from chest pains or shortness of breath with minimal exertion
  • Experience palpitations of the heart
  • Have a history of high cholesterol
  • Are obese
  • Have high blood pressure
  • Currently smoking
  • Are diabetic
  • Gave a family history of premature heart disease or heart attacks
  • Have abnormal resting electrocardiogram or arrhythmias

This workup generally includes a treadmill stress test with an ultrasound of the heart. These 2 tests help to rule out coronary heart disease. A detailed workup can uncover serious heart disease. And with the proper treatment, it helps prevent disabling and sometimes fatal heart attacks.

What is Coronary Artery Disease?

Coronary artery disease is the build-up of plaque in the inner lining of the artery walls. The arteries supply the heart. Plaque in the artery walls is also known as atherosclerosis. Coronary heart disease is a common form of heart disease and is a leading cause of disability and death.  Patients with coronary artery disease may suffer from chest pain. In severe cases, a sudden total blockage of the coronary artery can occur. This is known as an acute myocardial infarction or a heart attack.

What are the 3 types of stress tests?

There are several types of stress tests, but the most common ones include:

  1. Cardiac rehabilitation stress test: A stress echocardiogram (cardiac stress test) is used to assess how well your heart works during physical activity. It involves letting the patient walk or run on a treadmill or bike wearing an electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) machine. This is done to monitor the heart’s electrical activity. The test is designed to increase the heart’s workload and simulate the effects of exercise on the heart.
  2. Pharmacological stress test: This test is also known as a nuclear stress test; it uses medication to increase the heart’s workload. Medications such as Adenosine or Dipyridamole are used to dilate the coronary blood vessels and stress the heart while imaging the blood flow to the heart with an echocardiogram or myocardial perfusion imaging.
  3. Imaging stress test: This test uses imaging techniques such as a computed tomography (CT) scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to take pictures of the heart during stress. Normally, it’s used when the patient is unable to exercise due to physical limitations or other reasons.

All these tests stress the heart and simulate the effects of physical exertion. They can also identify any abnormalities, such as ischemia or poor blood flow to the heart, which may indicate the presence or risk of coronary artery disease (CAD). It is important to note that these tests should be recommended and interpreted by a physician.

What type of symptoms might you have if you have a heart problem?

1. Chest pain or shortness of breath.

2. A fast or irregular heartbeat or a pounding in your chest.

3. Discomfort when you press on one side of your chest.

4. Severe dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting.

5. Unusual sweating or nausea.

Why would a cardiologist order a stress test?

To help identify and assess particular heart conditions, a cardiologist may prescribe a stress test. A doctor or technician will keep an eye on the patient’s heart rate and rhythm as they exercise on a treadmill or stationary bike during this kind of test. The test can assist the cardiologist in identifying any areas of the heart that aren’t getting enough blood flow while exercising, which may be a sign of coronary artery disease.

What is the purpose of screening for coronary artery disease?

Often the first symptom of coronary artery disease is sudden death, resulting from a sudden and large myocardial infarction. This can occur without any preceding warning signs or chest pain. For this reason, our physicians are now performing screening tests to be proactive. To help detect signs of coronary artery disease before such serious medical events.

What are the risk factors for coronary artery disease?

Common risk factors of coronary artery disease include:

  •  Age
  • Male gender
  • Family history of coronary artery disease,
  • Smoking history
  • High blood pressure,
  • High blood cholesterol levels
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Physical inactivity
  • High stress
  • Sleep apnea
  • Elevated C-reactive protein
  • Elevated homocysteine levels
  • Elevated fibrinogen levels
  • Elevated Lipoprotein a levels

Why perform your screening cardiac testing at one of our locations?

At our Beverly Hills medical concierge office, we pull out the red carpet for our patients. We provide many of the tests performed by a cardiology office in a private office setting:

  • A friendly and experienced staff
  • Relaxed testing environment
  • State-of-the-art offices and diagnostic equipment

Most importantly, we will provide you with confidence and peace of mind.

How should I prepare for my cardiac testing day?

You should eat, drink and take your medications as you usually would unless told by your doctor. You should wear comfortable clothes as well as comfortable shoes. They’re necessary to be able to run on an exercise treadmill for the cardiac stress part of your test.

How Long Does a Stress Test Take?

How Long Does a Stress Test Take

A stress test typically takes around 30 minutes to 1 hour to complete. This includes the time it takes to prepare for the test (such as changing into appropriate clothing and attaching electrodes to the skin), as well as the actual test itself, which may involve walking on a treadmill or riding a stationary bike while the heart’s activity is monitored. The recovery time after the test is also typically included in this time frame.

Stress Test Without Exercise

A stress test can also be performed without exercise, known as a “pharmacological stress test” or “chemical stress test“. This type of test uses medication to simulate the effects of exercise on the heart. The medication, typically adenosine or dobutamine, is administered to the patient through an IV, and the heart’s activity is monitored through an electrocardiogram (ECG) or echocardiogram. A pharmacological stress test typically takes around 45 minutes to 1 hour to complete. During this time, the patient will be monitored for any changes in heart rate, blood pressure, and other cardiovascular indicators.

Are there any special preparations if I have diabetes?

When preparing for a cardiac stress test, there are a few extra things to keep in mind if you have diabetes. Bring a list of all your current medications, as well as any monitoring equipment (like a blood glucose monitor), to your appointment so that our healthcare provider can help you with the preparation.

Before the test, talk to your doctor about any dietary restrictions. Additionally, let your doctor know if you’ve changed your diet or weight recently, as these changes may affect the outcome of the stress test. You can get the most precise results from your cardiac stress test by heeding the advice in this article.

Are there any special preparations if I have asthma or airway disease?

If you have asthma or any other airway disease, special preparations may be necessary before undergoing a cardiac stress test. Your physician may recommend pre-medication with bronchodilators, or inhalers such as albuterol, to open the airways prior to the test.

In addition, they may advise you to avoid strenuous physical activity and even caffeine for 24 hours prior to the test in order to reduce the risk of complications. It is important to consult with your physician before undergoing a cardiac stress test if you have any airway disease.

Is cardiac stress testing safe?

Cardiac stress tests, or exercise stress tests, are typically considered safe and are generally used in determining the risk of coronary heart disease. It is also used to diagnose heart conditions, evaluate heart health and determine the effectiveness of treatments.

In most cases, cardiac stress tests are safe and pose no significant risks. If you have a history of heart failure or heart muscle abnormalities, our healthcare provider may advise on a nuclear test or imaging test vs. a treadmill stress test.

At what location is cardiac stress testing/heart testing(s) performed?

We offer cardiac stress testing/heart testing and exercise programs at our state-of-the-art offices in Beverly Hills. For questions or to schedule your cardiac stress test with My Concierge MD, contact or call 877-760-3570 today!

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