What Can Be Learned from a Stress Test?

The specialists here at Premier Cardiology Consultants are known for using the most accurate diagnostic studies available to measure your heart’s health. We’re pleased to offer outstanding cardiac care to residents throughout New York City from five convenient locations.

We’re also committed to providing education about your heart function and what it might indicate about your overall health. To that end, we’re happy to talk about the various kinds of stress tests available and how we use them to evaluate your cardiac status.

What does a stress test measure?

A stress test measures how well your heart functions under physical stress. This is important because your heart pumps harder and faster during exercise, which can reveal problems that might not be apparent when you’re resting.

Your Premier Cardiology specialist may recommend a stress test to help diagnose cardiovascular disease or abnormal heart rhythms. We can also use the study to help determine how well your heart is responding to treatments you’re undergoing for a previously diagnosed heart condition, or if your heart health is at risk due to certain medical conditions such as diabetes.

In some cases, we use stress test results to help determine whether further treatment, such as angioplasty to clear blocked arteries, may be necessary. They are also sometimes requested as part of a comprehensive physical exam for high-stress occupations.

Are there different types of stress tests?

There are three main types of stress tests, each of which includes an exercise portion and a 10 to 15-minute cool down:

1. Exercise stress test

A traditional exercise stress test is typically performed as you walk on a treadmill or ride a stationary bike. During the study, your heart rate, blood pressure, respiration, etc. are monitored carefully as you start slowly and then increase your effort until reaching a predetermined target heart rate.

Note that we may stop the study if you develop dizziness, chest pain, irregular heart rhythms, or other concerning symptoms.

2. Nuclear stress test

Before you begin the exercise portion of this stress test, we inject a dye that allows us to capture digital images of how blood moves through your heart when at rest. A second IV injection, given when you’ve reached your target heart rate, allows us to capture images of how your heart moves blood when it’s stressed.  

3. Stress echocardiogram

During a stress echocardiogram, ultrasound imaging rather than dye and a camera is used to capture images of your heart at rest and when it’s working hard.

Each type of stress test may be performed as an outpatient procedure or as part of your diagnostic course if you’ve been hospitalized for a suspected heart condition.

What if I can’t exercise?

Many people are unable to reach their peak heart rate with exercise due to physical deconditioning or other concerns. In that case, we provide a medication that causes your heart to beat faster and stronger, which effectively mimics the effects of exercise on your heart.   

For more information about stress testing or any of the many services we offer here at Premier Cardiology Consultants, or to schedule an evaluation, call us at any of our locations, or book online.

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