About Stress Testing
A stress test is used to help your doctor determine how your heart handles a greater workload or increased physiological stress. This is induced through exercise or by giving you a medication that mimics the effects of exercise. By increasing the workload of your heart, we can detect decreased or compromised blood flow in the arteries that supply blood to your heart. If decreased blood flow during stress is detected it can indicate a blockage in one or more of your coronary arteries.
How to prepare for your test:
- First schedule your appointment on a day where you can dedicate 3-4 hours of your time.
- Discuss medications with your doctor before your stress test is scheduled to determine whether any of your medications including over the counter medications and vitamins need to be stopped
- Do not eat food or drink caffeinated drinks 6 hours before your stress test. If you are diabetic you may eat a light meal 3 hours before.
- Wear comfortable clothing and walking shoes
- Avoid wearing an underwire bra or metal buttons
- Pre-caution: If you are breast feeding, are pregnant or think you may be pregnant please tell your doctor
Exercise Tolerance Test
Also known as Treadmill Stress Test
This test involves walking on a treadmill for approximately 10-15 minutes or until target heart rate is reached while we monitor your heart rhythm and blood pressure for changes.
Exercise Myocardial Perfusion Test
Also known as a Exercise Nuclear Stress Test
This test is similar to the treadmill test stated above with the addition of a radioactive tracer. A small intravenous catheter is placed in your arm to inject a radioactive material that travels to the arteries of your heart. Soon afterwards you will like down under a gamma camera for about 20 minutes to take pictures of your heart while resting. These images are repeated after walking on a treadmill for several minutes. Your heart doctor will compare the before and after pictures to assess for areas of decreased blood flow. This test can take 3-4 hours to complete in a single day or you may have the option to complete it in two days. The radiation exposure during this test is considered acceptable and safe.
Pharmacologic Myocardial Perfusion Test
Also known as a Pharmacologic Nuclear Stress Test
This test is exactly as the one stated above except uses an IV medication called Regadenoson (Lexiscan). This medications is administered over 30 seconds and can cause symptoms such as flushing, chest tightness and headache. This medication mimics the stress of exercise without actually physically moving. This test is reserved for those with mobility issues that cannot tolerate physical exercise.