Some heart symptoms, such as chest pain or an irregular heartbeat, only develop when you’re actively engaged in exercise. The experts at Advanced Heart & Vascular Specialists perform a stress test to identify problems with blood flow and heart rhythms that only appear when exercise forces the heart to work harder. If you have questions about your symptoms or need to schedule a stress test, call the office in Las Vegas or use the online booking feature.
A stress test evaluates how your heart performs when it’s forced to work harder and increase blood flow to your body. The test results are used to diagnose problems, such as coronary artery disease or arrhythmias.
CAD occurs when the arteries supplying your heart with blood become diseased, which most often occurs due to a buildup of cholesterol and plaque.
You develop an arrhythmia when something is wrong with the electrical system in your heart, making it beat too quickly, too slowly, or irregularly.
You may also need to have a stress test if you already receive treatment for a heart problem and your doctor wants to test how well your treatment is working.
During an exercise stress test, you walk on a treadmill while its speed is increased at regular intervals. The test continues until you reach a target heart rate or you develop heart symptoms.
Your heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure are constantly monitored as you exercise. You wear electrocardiogram (EKG) electrodes so your heart’s electrical activity is recorded throughout the test.
Your overall well-being is also continuously watched during your test and experienced professionals are on hand in case you begin to feel weak or dizzy, or you have chest pain.
Health problems, such as musculoskeletal disorders, peripheral artery disease, and obesity, may prevent patients from staying on a treadmill long enough to reach their target heart rate. If you can’t tolerate walking on a treadmill, your doctor may recommend pharmacologic stress testing.
During this type of stress test, your doctor injects or infuses certain drugs that mimic the effect of exercise by increasing blood flow. Your heart function is monitored throughout the procedure just like during an exercise stress test.
The team at Advanced Heart & Vascular Specialists may recommend a nuclear stress test to determine which part of your heart isn’t working properly. Your doctor injects a small amount of radioactive dye into a vein and then uses specialized imaging to create pictures showing blood flow through your heart.
The dye is injected and images produced before a stress test and then again right after your stress test is finished. By comparing the images, your doctor can see areas of low blood flow or damaged heart muscle.
If you experience heart-related symptoms, such as chest pain, shortness of breath, or an abnormal heartbeat, call Advanced Heart & Vascular Specialists or book an appointment online.