If you experience symptoms, such as an irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath, or chest pain, your cardiovascular doctor may suggest an exercise stress test. This test is a diagnostic tool that analyzes the heart during physical activity to determine if the organ has sustained damage.
A stress test can be insightful if you are concerned or may be at risk of heart disease. Buckeye Heart and Vascular Institute, a team of expert cardiologists and vascular specialists in Dayton, OH, describe why you may benefit from a stress test.
How Can a Stress Test Help Me?
If you experience cardiovascular issues or have a family history of heart disease, your vascular specialist may want to evaluate your heart health with a stress test. More specifically, an exercise stress test will help a doctor with the following diagnostic queries:
- Determine risk of cardiac arrest
- Analyze blood flow during physical activity
- Evaluate heart valve functions
- Recognize any heart rhythm irregularities
The increased blood flow to your heart during exercise can create an ideal setting for doctors to see how your heart works. With this scenario, heart problems can become more evident, and your doctor develops an appropriate treatment plan.
What Can I Expect During This Test?
The stress test occurs with a patient using either a treadmill or a stationary bike. The doctor attaches electrodes to the patient’s chest, arms, and legs and secures a cuff around one arm to measure blood pressure.
The patient begins exercising slowly at first with a gradual increase in intensity. The test continues until the target heart rate is reached or the patient can no longer maintain appropriate physical activity.
What is a Nuclear Stress Test?
A nuclear stress test differs from a standard stress test in that it features myocardial perfusion imaging. This means that the doctor injects a tracer intravenously in the patient that will circulate through their cardiovascular system and create images of the heart.
The test records the patient’s resting heart rate for the first 30 minutes of the test before beginning physical activity that is similar to a standard stress test. The doctor may inject the tracer more than once during the test to get adequate imaging.
Talk to a Vascular Doctor in Dayton, OH
Buckeye Heart and Vascular Institute offers nuclear stress tests and other cardiovascular services to patients in Dayton, OH. If you are concerned about the health of your heart or arteries, talk to one of our cardiologists or vascular doctors today. To schedule an appointment with us, contact our office online or reach us by phone at 937.203.8602.