Various Types of Stress Testing and Their Importance

Stress testing is an essential evaluation for patients with cardiovascular disease.  If you are experiencing symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, fainting, and dizziness, stress testing in Upper East Side may help establish the cause of your symptoms. A stress test may also determine how well your heart works as you engage in any physical exercise.

What are the uses of a stress test?

·         Diagnosis for coronary artery disease. The coronary artery is the main blood vessel used to supply the heart with blood, oxygen, and nutrients. Accumulation of fats, cholesterol, and plaque in the arteries, known as atherosclerosis, may damage the arteries and result in coronary artery disease.

·         Guide treatment for heart conditions. After a diagnostic result confirms that you have a heart disorder, your doctor may use exercise stress to evaluate the effectiveness of treatment. A stress test may also enable your doctor to recommend a suitable treatment plan for you based on how much exercise your heart can manage.

·         Your doctor may use a stress test to diagnose arrhythmia. This is a heart disease that occurs when you have slow, fast, or irregular heartbeats. Abnormal functioning of electrical impulses may result in heart rhythm problems.

A stress test may also help establish timing for valve replacement during cardiac surgery. Stress test results enable your specialist to determine whether you need a heart transplant or any other advanced therapy. In some cases, a stress test may not single out a particular cause of your symptoms. Here, your specialist may recommend an echocardiographic or a nuclear stress test.

Types of stress testing

·         Cardiopulmonary exercise test. This type of test is used to evaluate the functioning of your lungs and heart. Your specialist may also use this test to check how well your muscles use oxygen during exercise.

·         Pharmacologic stress test. During this test, you may not engage in physical activity. Your specialist may recommend this type of testing if you have health conditions such as arthritis which may cause physical limitations.

·         Nuclear stress test. Your specialist may use this test to examine blood flow during rest and as you engage in physical exercise.

Risk factors

Stress testing is generally safe. However, there are various downsides that you may experience after the test. For example:

·         You may experience irregular heartbeats after stress exercise. This goes away a few minutes after the workout.

·         Low blood pressure may result in dizziness or fainting as you exercise or just after finishing an exercise.

·         Although this is rare, stress testing could result in a heart attack, also known as myocardial infarction.

What happens during stress testing?

Your specialist will place electrodes on various body parts, including your chest, arms, and legs, connected to an electrocardiogram machine that records your heart activity. You may exercise on a stationary bike or a treadmill. The intensity of the exercise may increase as the test progresses. Your specialist may require you to exercise for a set time. However, you may need to stop if you start to have fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath, and chest pain.

If you have any questions concerning stress testing, reserve a session with your specialist at Upper East Side Cardiology for evaluation of the functioning of your heart.