What Is a Cardiac Stress Test?

Cardiac Stress Testing

If you’ve ever had any cardiac symptoms, or even if you haven’t, you’ve probably heard about Cardiac Stress Testing. It sounds a little daunting (doesn’t anything when you toss the word Cardiac in front of it?) but it’s really nothing to be worried about. Cardiac Stress Testing is a very common procedure used to help get a better picture of your heart health and help determine where symptoms might be coming from if you are experiencing them. Let’s dive a little deeper into what the tests consist of and why they are important for a full picture of your cardiac health.

Cardiac Stress Testing

Commonly used to test a person’s pulmonary strength and exercise capacity, cardiac stress testing generally begins with a treadmill test. The treadmill will begin and a low speed and a flat or minimal incline. Over the course of the test, the speed and incline will increase until the test is terminated when a target heart range is achieved, the patient is fatigued, or symptoms of extreme breathlessness or chest pain occur. Throughout the entire test, heart rate is constantly monitored and blood pressure measurements are acquired.

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Why It’s Helpful

After the test is administered, the results are analyzed, allowing the physician to determine if there are any irregular patterns or areas of concern. Often the traditional treadmill stress test will be paired with imaging via echocardiography or nuclear perfusion testing to help boost the diagnostic capabilities of the test. Having such testing done can help determine if your heart is getting enough blood flow and help determine if something else is going on that may require further testing, medication, or another type of intervention.

When You Should Consider a Stress Test

If you’re experiencing strange and/or painful cardiac symptoms, this is a must-do to help get a proper diagnosis. If you’re having trouble reaching your fitness goals because of cardiac symptoms, a cardiac stress test can help get to the bottom of it. If you’re looking to change up and increase the intensity of your exercise regime, it may also be a good idea to get a cardiac stress test before you push too far, just to ensure that your body can truly handle the increase in effort.

There are so many moving components to a cardiac stress test, but it’s a fairly simple and painless procedure for patients to go through that can give your physician a lot of information necessary to help make the best diagnosis and help your heart health improve over time. If you’re interested in learning more about cardiac stress testing or would like to make an appointment with a specialist to get your own cardiac stress testing completed, contact us.