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What Happens During a Cardiac Stress Test?

Schedule a cardiac stress test for any troubling signs of heart trouble.

By Serafino Mozzo at Shutterstock

Anyone who has troubling heart health issues may find themselves in need of a stress test. A stress test reviews the condition of your heart during periods of increased physical activity. Your doctor will determine if and when an exercise stress test is necessary, so be sure to speak with them immediately if you experience any issues. You never want to risk your heart health.

What is Stress Testing?

A stress test, which you may find is often referred to by medical professionals as an exercise stress test, is designed to show how well your heart works during physical activity. As such, most stress tests require walking on a treadmill or operating a stationary bike. Your doctor will test your heart rhythm, blood pressure, and breathing during the stress test. If you are unable to exercise, your doctor may provide a drug that mimics the effects.

Most often, a stress test is administered when you, the patient, show signs of coronary artery disease or irregular heart rhythms (arrhythmia). In such cases, a stress test can provide a clear picture of how to move forward. Your doctor can better determine treatment decisions, measure the effectiveness of recent treatment, and diagnose the severity of a heart condition.

Types of Stress Testing

There are two primary types of stress testing that the doctor may choose between. These include:

  • Standard Exercise Stress Test – A standard stress test utilizes an EKG (electrocardiogram) to detect and record the activity of the heart. The EKG will display how fast your heart is beating, the overall rhythm, the strength and timing of electrical signals, and more. During the test, your blood pressure will be assessed, too. You may even be asked to breathe into a tube during the trial to better determine breathing and measure gases.
  • Imaging Stress Test – The other option is an imaging stress test, in which pictures of the heart are taken during exercise and while at rest. These images can help the doctor determine how blood is flowing through your heart and how well the heart pumps blood during each beat.

Who is Right for Stress Testing?

There are many types of patients that require stress testing. Most commonly, you’ll find you require a stress test if you experience chest pains, shortness of breath, and other symptoms related to the blood flow to and from your heart.

An imaging stress test can easily show if you have coronary heart disease or heart valve troubles. A faulty heart valve can limit the amount of blood that reaches your heart.
Furthermore, many patients undergo a stress test if they feel faint, have a rapid heartbeat, or experience a fluttering feeling in the chest during exercise. This reason is why so many exercise machines say to consult your doctor if you feel any discomfort or pain.

If you are experiencing any heart-related issues, such as shortness of breath, sharp pain, or an irregular heartbeat, then contact Brookhaven Heart promptly at 631-654-3278. We’ll happily schedule an exercise stress test to determine what is going on with your heart. Call us today to schedule an appointment at one of our cardiac centers in Patchogue, NY, New Hyde Park, NY, or Hicksville, NY.