Guide Testing the Heart

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Standard Exercise Stress Test
Contents:


  1. Cardiac stress test - Wikipedia
  2. Exercise Stress Test
  3. Utility Menu
  4. Search Harvard Health Publishing
  5. A-to-Z Guide to Heart Tests

Contact Us. Cardiac Exercise Stress Test - "Stress Test" A cardiac exercise stress test is a test that shows how well your heart handles exercise. The image below shows an exercise stress test. How do I prepare for an exercise stress test? You can prepare for your cardiac exercise stress test by: Wearing loose, comfortable clothing Asking your doctor if you can take your medicine beforehand Avoiding eating - as well as smoking and drinking alcohol - at least 3 hours before the test begins Avoiding caffeine such as tea, coffee, cola and chocolate for 24 hours before the test begins What happens during a cardiac exercise stress test?

Please take a few minutes to fill our survey Participate X. X This requires the use of iframes and unfortunately it looks like your browser does not support this. This allows a technician to measure the gases you breathe out. Breathing into the tube during stress testing also is done before a heart transplant to help assess whether you're a candidate for the surgery.

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Cardiac stress test - Wikipedia

Usually, you have to have symptoms of CHD before a doctor will recommend stress testing. However, your doctor may want to use a stress test to screen for CHD if you have diabetes. This disease increases your risk of CHD. Currently, though, no evidence shows that having a stress test will improve your outcome if you have diabetes.

You should wear shoes and clothes in which you can exercise comfortably. Your doctor might ask you to fast not eat or drink anything but water for a short time before the test. If you're diabetic, ask your doctor whether you need to adjust your medicines on the day of the test. For some stress tests, you can't drink coffee or other caffeinated drinks for a day before the test. Certain over-the-counter or prescription medicines also may interfere with some stress tests. Ask your doctor whether you need to avoid certain drinks or food or change how you take your medicine before the test.

If you use an inhaler for asthma or other breathing problems, bring it to the test. Make sure you let the doctor know that you use it. During all types of stress testing, a doctor, nurse, or technician will always be with you to closely check your health status.

Exercise Stress Test

Before you start the "stress" part of a stress test, the nurse will put sticky patches called electrodes on the skin of your chest, arms, and legs. To help an electrode stick to the skin, the nurse may have to shave a patch of hair where the electrode will be attached. The electrodes will be connected to an EKG electrocardiogram machine. This machine records your heart's electrical activity. It shows how fast your heart is beating and the heart's rhythm steady or irregular. An EKG also records the strength and timing of electrical signals as they pass through your heart.

The nurse will put a blood pressure cuff on your arm to check your blood pressure during the stress test. The cuff will feel tight on your arm when it expands every few minutes. Also, you might have to breathe into a special tube so the gases you breathe out can be measured. Next, you'll exercise on a treadmill or stationary bike. If such exercise poses a problem for you, you might turn a crank with your arms instead. During the test, the exercise level will get harder. You can stop whenever you feel the exercise is too much for you. The image shows a patient having a stress test.

If you can't exercise, medicine might be injected into a vein in your arm or hand. The medicine will increase blood flow through your coronary arteries and make your heart beat fast, as it would during exercise. You can then have the stress test.

How a 5 minute Heart CT can Help Predict a Heart Attack

The medicine may make you flushed and anxious, but the effects go away as soon as the test is over. The medicine also may give you a headache. While you're exercising or getting medicine to make your heart work harder, the nurse will ask you how you're feeling. You should tell him or her if you feel chest pain, short of breath, or dizzy. The exercise or medicine infusion will continue until you reach a target heart rate, or until you:. The nurse will continue to check your heart functions and blood pressure after the test until they return to normal levels.

The "stress" part of a stress test when your heart is working hard usually lasts about 15 minutes or less. However, there's prep time before the test and monitoring time afterward. For an exercise stress echocardiogram echo test, the nurse will take pictures of your heart using echocardiography before you exercise and as soon as you finish. A sonographer a person who specializes in using ultrasound techniques will apply gel to your chest.

Then, he or she will briefly put a transducer a wand-like device against your chest and move it around. The echoes from the sound waves are converted into moving pictures of your heart on a screen. You might be asked to lie on your side on an exam table for this test.

Utility Menu

Some stress echo tests also use dye to improve imaging. The dye is injected into your bloodstream while the test occurs. For a sestamibi stress test or other imaging stress test that uses radioactive dye, the nurse will inject a small amount of dye into your bloodstream. This is done through a needle placed in a vein in your arm or hand. Pictures will be taken of your heart at least two times: when it's at rest and when it's working its hardest.

You'll lie down on a table, and a special camera or scanner that can detect the dye in your bloodstream will take pictures of your heart. Some pictures may not be taken until you lie quietly for a few hours after the stress test. Some patients may even be asked to return in a day or so for more pictures.

Stress cardiac imaging is not recommended for asymptomatic, low-risk patients as part of their routine care.

Search Harvard Health Publishing

A cardiac stress test should be terminated before completion under the following circumstances: [14] [15]. Pharmacologic stress testing relies on coronary steal. Vasodilators are used to dilate coronary vessels, which causes increased blood velocity and flow rate in normal vessels and less of a response in stenotic vessels. This difference in response leads to a steal of flow and perfusion defects appear in cardiac nuclear scans or as ST-segment changes.

The choice of pharmacologic stress agents used in the test depends on factors such as potential drug interactions with other treatments and concomitant diseases. Pharmacologic agents such as Adenosine, Lexiscan Regadenoson , or dipyridamole is generally used when a patient cannot achieve adequate work level with treadmill exercise, or has poorly controlled hypertension or left bundle branch block.

A-to-Z Guide to Heart Tests

However, an exercise stress test may provide more information about exercise tolerance than a pharmacologic stress test. Lexiscan Regadenoson or Dobutamine is often used in patients with severe reactive airway disease asthma or COPD as adenosine and dipyridamole can cause acute exacerbation of these conditions.


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If the patient's Asthma is treated with an inhaler then it should be used as a pre-treatment prior to the injection of the pharmacologic stress agent. In addition, if the patient is actively wheezing then the physician should determine the benefits versus the risk to the patient of performing a stress test especially outside of a hospital setting. Caffeine is usually held 24 hours prior to an adenosine stress test, as it is a competitive antagonist of the A2A adenosine receptor and can attenuate the vasodilatory effects of adenosine. The test has relatively high rates of false positives and false negatives compared with other clinical tests.

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  7. Cardiac stress test A male patient walks on a stress test treadmill to have his heart's function checked. National Library of Medicine. Retrieved 31 May Livestrong Foundation. Retrieved May 30, Texas Heart Institute. July Retrieved 23 August Kaplan Publishing.

    Retrieved 25 September New England Journal of Medicine. Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Journal of Nuclear Cardiology. Jorge, eds.