What Does a Cardiac Stress Test Show?

Cardiologist examining her patient

When your doctor suspects that there might be problems with your heart, you might need to take a cardiac stress test. This type of test provides important information about factors that affect the heart.

What is Stress Testing?

Stress testing refers to a test that is done in order to check how your heart functions when you are physically active. This information helps doctors determine whether or not you might need additional testing for heart disease.

What Are the Types of Stress Testing?

Different types of stress testing are available. The most common type is an exercise stress test, which involves checking your heart function during physical activity, such as walking on a treadmill. Other types of stress tests include nuclear stress tests and stress tests that are done with an echocardiogram.

Who Needs Stress Testing?

People who show signs of coronary artery disease or other heart problems, such as arrhythmia, might need to have a stress test done. Doctors sometimes recommend stress tests for those who have already been diagnosed with a heart disorder in order to come up with a treatment plan or determine if current treatment is effective.

What to Expect During Stress Testing?

When you have stress testing done, you’ll have electrodes placed on certain parts of your body, such as your chest and arms. These electrodes help measure the electrical signals associated with your heart beating while you exercise. This type of test usually takes about 15 minutes and involves walking on a treadmill or using a stationary bike.

How to Prepare for a Cardiac Stress Test?

You should follow your doctor’s instructions for preparing for stress testing. In general, you might need to avoid eating and drinking for a certain amount of time prior to your test. You should plan to wear a comfortable outfit and shoes for your test.
What Does the Stress Test Result Mean?

Normal results mean that you shouldn’t need any other tests done. Abnormal results mean that you’ll be meeting with your doctor to go over the results and discuss treatment options as needed. Your doctor might also have you take other tests to check for heart problems.

What Does an Abnormal Stress Test Mean?

Abnormal stress test results mean that there is a problem with your heart function. Additional tests can help your doctor diagnose your condition and come up with a treatment plan.

What Are the Risks of a Stress Test?

Risks associated with stress tests are low. However, there are a few you should be aware of, such as the risk of low blood pressure during exercise, which can cause dizziness. Other risks include heart arrhythmias due to physical activity and heart attacks, although this type of risk is very rare.

What is the Normal Heart Rate During a Stress Test?

This varies for each individual. Your doctor will help you set a target heart rate for your stress test based on certain factors, such as how often you normally exercise. This helps determine what your normal heart rate should be during physical activity.

If you need to take a stress test, make an appointment today with one of our board-certified cardiologists at Park Avenue Medical Professionals. Our doctors have extensive experience in performing cardiac testing.

Request Appointment Now

Someone from our office will contact you as soon as possible. For immediate assistance during regular office hours, please call 212.427.2000 and select the correct prompt. If this is a medical emergency, please call 911 or visit the nearest hospital.
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