A stress test is a valuable diagnostic tool physicians use to evaluate how well your heart functions during exercise. At Central Park West Primary Care and Cardiology Physicians on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, New York, Haleh Milani MD, FACC, and the team may recommend stress testing to identify what’s causing your chest pain, reduced exercise tolerance, or irregular heart rhythm. The practice also focuses heavily on preventing cardiovascular disease and may recommend a stress test as part of a comprehensive exam. Call the office to schedule an appointment or book your next stress test online today.
Your heart works much harder when exercising than when you’re resting. A cardiac stress test, also known as an exercise stress test, identifies how well your heart functions during physical activity.
Results obtained from a cardiac stress test can help your provider:
Central Park West Primary Care and Cardiology Physicians may also recommend stress tests as part of a comprehensive heart attack and stroke prevention evaluation.
Your provider discusses the details of a stress test before scheduling the study. Generally, however, the exercise portion of a stress test lasts for 15-20 minutes.
Before you start exercising, a technician places small sticky electrodes on your chest, legs, and arms. Wires connect the electrodes to a nearby computer that records your heart’s rhythm and rate (electrical activity) throughout the study.
Your specialist also carefully monitors your blood pressure, respiratory rate, and other vital signs as you exercise on a stationary bike or treadmill. The goal is to reach a targeted heart rate that your provider calculates before you start the test.
If you’re unable to exercise, your doctor may administer a medication that mimics the effects of physical activity by causing your heart to work harder for a few minutes.
There are several different types of stress tests. Each gathers the same basic information regarding your heart function during physical activity, but those that include imaging offer more precise detail than others.
A stress echocardiogram, for instance, uses ultrasound technology to capture images of your heart before and immediately after a stress test.
This gives your provider a clearer picture of how your heart muscles and valves work. It also calculates how well blood flows through your arteries and heart chambers at rest and when the heart is stressed.
Other stress tests include advanced imaging studies such as a positron emission technology (PET) scan or CT scan to provide information about your heart health.
For more information about stress testing, call Central Park West Primary Care & Cardiology Physicians or book your visit online today.