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    Stress Tests

    Stress tests help observe blood flow conditions to test for Atrial Fibrillation.

    Stress tests are commonly used to test for Atrial Fibrillation. Stress tests demonstrate to doctors whether or not the blood flow to your heart is normal during exercise. Most forms of stress tests are conducted while the patient is using a treadmill. The most common methods of stress tests are basic treadmill tests, echo stress tests and nuclear stress tests.

    What to Expect During your Visit

    • You may be asked to perform a basic treadmill test, in which you will walk on a treadmill to stress your heart. The treadmill will get faster and steeper every 3 minutes and your nurse or doctor will watch your EKG and blood pressure and ask you about any symptoms you are feeling.
    • An echo stress test will be conducted while you are resting. After you rest, you will walk on a treadmill to stress your heart and another echo test will be performed to determine how well your heart pumps blood.
    • Your doctor may suggest a nuclear stress test, a test in which you walk on a treadmill to stress your heart followed by a doctor giving you a medicine through a vein in your arm to show the flow of blood to your heart.
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    Stress Tests

    Frequently Asked Questions

    A stress test, also known as an exercise stress test, is a diagnostic tool to evaluate how well your heart functions during physical activity. Nuclear stress tests, a type of stress test, are specifically ordered to identify blocked arteries in the heart by assessing blood flow to the heart muscle. This non-invasive procedure involves injecting a small amount of radioactive substance to help create detailed images of the heart's blood flow.

    You need to arrive fasting and wearing comfortable clothes. Part of the heart is behind the stomach, so food in the stomach will result in poor images and possibly inaccurate results. You should avoid any liquids except a minimal amount of water.

    You should continue taking your regular medications on the day of the test. There are two exceptions to this rule:

    If you are fasting, please refrain from taking your diabetic medications. However, ensure you bring them with you to the test as there will be a designated time for you to consume food, and you will require the diabetic medication then.
    For a treadmill stress test to yield accurate results, we must elevate your heart rate. Therefore, you are advised to omit your beta-blocker medication (such as metoprolol, atenolol, coreg) the evening before and the morning of the test.

    In a stress test, the doctor compares symptoms, your ECG, and images of your heart at rest and after exercising. The heart can be exercised via a treadmill or, if unable to use a treadmill, use chemicals to simulate exercise. You should expect to be present for 2-3 hours. You will need to lay flat, preferably with your arms above your head, for a set of resting images and a second set of images after stress.

    Within a day or 2 after completing the test, you should be contacted with your results. If you are not, please call for your results.

    An EKG is a snapshot of the electric patterns in your heart that make it beat. It is a routine test in any cardiac evaluation. You can expect one during an initial evaluation and any time symptoms change. It is also used to monitor the effects of certain medications. A medical assistant or nurse in the office administers the test. It allows us to look for irregularities in the electrical rhythm of your heart and gives us clues to structural abnormalities of the heart.

    We perform several types of stress tests. Some involve getting on a treadmill, while others injecting medicine into a vein. We examine your heart using techniques, including ECGs, ultrasounds, or nuclear images during the stress test.

    Different types of stress tests last different amounts of time and can vary from 30 minutes to over 3 hours.

    Please wear comfortable clothes and shoes that you are able to walk and run in.

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