What to Expect from a Stress Test

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No matter how many heart attacks you have had before, you should not be alarmed if your doctor recommends a stress test. This basic test is a safe approach to determine how effectively your heart pumps and how well it receives blood flow. Your doctor may ask you to undergo stress testing Covington for various reasons. People with symptoms are often examined for coronary disease (CAD), the most prevalent cause of an exam.

If the blood flow to muscle sections is disrupted, the test can discriminate between the healthy heart muscle and the muscle injured by a heart attack. Here is what to expect from your stress test:

Diagnosing coronary artery disease

The coronary arteries deliver blood, oxygen, and nutrients to your heart. Unfortunately, coronary artery disease occurs when the heart’s arteries get clogged with cholesterol and other harmful chemicals due to injury or illness (plaques). When taking a stress test, one of the things you can expect from your doctor is to check the presence of coronary artery disease. The sooner the doctor identifies it; the sooner treatment can start.

Detecting irregular heartbeats (arrhythmias)

The electrical impulses that control your heartbeat are disrupted, leading to cardiac arrhythmias. If your heartbeat is abnormally rapid, slow, or irregular, you may have an arrhythmia, so a stress test is vital.

Guiding treatment of heart disorders

The results of an exercise stress test might assist your doctor in deciding whether your current therapy is effective if you have previously been diagnosed with a heart issue. In addition, your doctor might provide treatment recommendations based on the findings of your tests.

Checking your heart before surgery

Depending on your condition, your doctor may conduct a stress test to decide whether it is safe to have heart surgery.

The various kinds of strain testing you should expect

A few examples of stress testing are as follows:

  • Walking on a treadmill or pedaling on a stationary bicycle is the most common stress testing (exercise stress test or treadmill test). Your doctor may prescribe dobutamine if you cannot exercise due to a medical problem, which causes your heart to pump harder than it would normally. It is also known as a dobutamine stress test or a pharmacological stress test.
  • Imaging your heart while under stress using an intravenous injection of a radioactive dye is known as a nuclear stress test. For example, PET (positron emission tomography) stress tests may be used to determine whether or not a patient has a thallium deficiency.
  • Expect to get a moving image of your heart by having stress echocardiography.

A patient’s medical history and symptoms are considered by cardiologists when making judgments regarding future testing or treatment. Additional testing is not necessary for all abnormal stress tests. Some patients’ risk factors need to be reduced. At modest levels of activity, considerable areas of the heart muscle may be affected, or the pattern implies multi-vessel disease, cardiac catheterization may be necessary. Knowing what the stress test is all about allows you to prepare adequately and make the most out of it. 

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