The cardiac stress test is a diagnostic test that evaluates the way the heart performs when it's under exertion. Most stress tests involve walking on a treadmill at increasing rates of speed or pedaling a stationary bike. The heart will be evaluated prior to the stress test and again once your heart reaches a specified target during exertion.
Stress tests are usually performed to:
make sure your heart is receiving enough blood during physical activity
diagnose coronary heart disease (CAD) or determine if a person is at risk for CAD
evaluate the heart valves and their function
assess the effectiveness of treatments for heart diseases
look for heart rhythm abnormalities
help cardiac patients develop a safe exercise program
In that case, a special medication can be administered to mimic the effects of exercise on the heart. The medication, usually either adenosine or dobutamine, will be administered through an IV at a controlled rate to determine how your heart responds to increasing levels of stress caused by the drug's effects.
That depends on the type of test you're having. In general, you'll need to avoid foods and beverages with caffeine for several hours prior to the test, and you'll also need to limit what you eat or drink. If you're having an exercise stress test, be sure to wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing. Also be sure to ask the doctor about what medications you're allowed to take before the test. Usually, stress tests require you to avoid certain heart-related medications in order to assess the heart's function while it's not being affected by medication.
If you do not currently have medical insurance, no problem. If you have a diagnosis of heart disease or you think you may have heart disease, feel free to set up an introductory meeting. We have several heart care packages that allow you to receive continued Heart care with our Board Certified Cardiologist. After an initial evaluation, we can determine which package works best for your specific needs. Call us now. Don't wait for a heart attack!
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