What is an exercise stress test?
Exercise stress test is the modality used to assess the heart’s ability to respond to stress induced by exercise, or introduction of pharmacologic agents that act as coronary vasodilators (medications that cause dilation of the heart vessels).
What is a nuclear stress test?
A nuclear stress test, also known as a myocardial perfusion imaging study, uses a radioactive imaging agent, also known as a tracer, and a special camera to evaluate blood flow into the heart muscle while at rest and during exercise. The camera will provide images of your heart that will help your physician identify areas of poor blood flow and damaged heart muscle. A nuclear stress test may be ordered if your physician suspects coronary artery disease, to evaluate chest pain or shortness of breath, for cardiac clearance in preparation for surgery, or to guide your medical treatment.
Why do I need a stress test?
Stress testing is used to diagnose abnormal heart related symptoms, such as shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness and/or lightheadedness, or syncope. A cardiac stress test is utilized to diagnose coronary artery disease, predict risk of future heart attacks, or determine the effectiveness of prior procedures performed to treat blockages and establish adequate perfusion (blood flow) through the coronary arteries (vessels of the heart). Abnormalities noted during the stress test, such as changes in heart rate, blood pressure, heart rate, EKG changes or worsening physical symptoms could indicate an underlying coronary artery disease (CAD).
What should I expect during the stress test?
During the stress testing patients are asked to walk on a treadmill, while the EKG leads are placed on the chest. This allows for the monitoring of the heart rate and rhythm during testing. Walking on a treadmill increases the blood flow to the heart and allows for the target heart rate to be achieved. A substantial proportion of patients, however, are incapable of attaining and sustaining a sufficient level of exercise. Patients with exertional symptoms, such as, shortness of breath, chest pain, and individuals with comorbid conditions, such peripheral vascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, will be considered for a pharmacologic stress test, with the use of pharmacologic vasodilators.
How should I prepare prior to my stress test?
Prior to stress testing you will be given instructions on how to prepare for the day of testing, as well as what to expect during and after the stress test.
- Do not eat anything after midnight.
- You may drink water.
- If you are diabetic, you may have a light breakfast 4 hours before your stress test.
- Bring a snack with you the day of your stress test, your technician will let you know when it is ok to eat.
- NO CAFFEINE 12 hours before your test. (No coffee, tea, green tea, soda, chocolate, decaffeinated drinks, medications with caffeine such as migraine medications).
- DO NOT SMOKE, USE TOBACCO OR NICOTINE PRODUCTS the day of your test.
- Do not apply any lotions, creams, powders, or oils to the chest area.
- Please wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing, two piece-outfit (pants or shorts and short-sleeve shirt are preferred).
- Comfortable walking shoes, NO SLIP-ON SHOES OR SANDALS.
- You will be instructed to hold certain medications prior to your stress test.
Schedule a Consultation
The most important step in your care is choosing a cardiovascular specialist to treat your heart. At IVY Cardiovascular and Vein Center our physician, Dr. Rishi Panchal, was trained at Yale, one of five advanced peripheral vascular fellowships in the nation to treat your heart in an academic fashion. We serve all of Palm Beach County and greater South Florida. Current offices in Wellington and Belle Glade, Fl. Call today to set up your consultation.