A stress test, sometimes called a treadmill test or exercise test, helps your doctor find out how well your heart handles its workload. As your body works harder during the test, it requires more fuel and your heart has to pump more blood. The test can show if there’s a lack of blood supply through the arteries that go to the heart.
Taking a stress test also helps your doctor know the kind and level of physical activity that’s right for you. The test monitors your heart rate, breathing, blood pressure, electrocardiogram, and how tired you feel.
Doctors use exercise stress tests to find out if you have an irregular heartbeat or if your symptoms, such as chest pain or difficulty breathing, are related to your heart. They can also determine how hard you should exercise when joining a cardiac rehabilitation program or starting an exercise program, whether treatments for heart disease are working, and whether you need more tests.
Instructions to patient for Stress Echo
1. You may eat breakfast the morning of the study
2. You may take morning medications
EXCEPT: Lopressor, Metoprolol, Toprol
3. Do NOT eat lunch, or take noon time medications.
Your doctor can determine many things about your heart health through a blood test. An analysis of your levels of cholesterol, for example, can determine if you’re at an increased risk of having a heart attack. Other substances in your blood can help your doctor determine if you have heart failure or are at risk of developing atherosclerosis, plaque deposits in your arteries.
Ultrasonography uses high-frequency ultrasound waves to produce images of internal organs and other tissues, as well as blood vessels and arteries. They can show how well blood flows through your blood vessels.
The test is painless and noninvasive and can help diagnose conditions such as aortic aneurysm, carotid artery disease, deep vein thrombosis, peripheral artery disease, renal and mesenteric artery disease, and venous insufficiency.
An echocardiogram (echo) is a test that uses high-frequency sound waves to make pictures of your heart. The test is also called echocardiography or diagnostic cardiac ultrasound.
Your doctor may use an echo test to look at your heart’s structure and check how well your heart functions. The test helps your doctor find out:
- The size and shape of your heart, and the size, thickness and movement of your heart’s walls.
- How your heart moves.
- The heart’s pumping strength.
- If the heart valves are working correctly.
- If blood is leaking backwards through your heart valves (regurgitation).
- If the heart valves are too narrow (stenosis).
- If there is a tumor or infectious growth around your heart valves.
- Problems with the outer lining of your heart (the pericardium).
- Problems with the large blood vessels that enter and leave the heart.
- Blood clots in the chambers of your heart.
- Abnormal holes between the chambers of the heart
Nuclear Wall Studies
Nuclear medicine is a branch of medical imaging that uses small amounts of radioactive material to diagnose and treat a variety of diseases, including heart disease. Cardiac nuclear medicine is useful in diagnosing and assessing coronary artery disease. It is also used to evaluate cardiomyopathy and identify possible damage to the heart from chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
An electrocardiogram (EKG) is a test that measures the electrical activity of the heartbeat. With each beat, an electrical impulse, or wave, travels through the heart. This wave causes the muscle to squeeze and pump blood from the heart. A normal heartbeat on an ECG will show the timing of the top and lower chambers.
An EKG gives two major kinds of information. First, by measuring time intervals on the EKG, a doctor can determine how long the electrical wave takes to pass through the heart. Finding out how long a wave takes to travel from one part of the heart to the next shows if the electrical activity is normal or slow, fast or irregular. Second, by measuring the amount of electrical activity passing through the heart muscle, a cardiologist may be able to find out if parts of the heart are too large or are overworked.
A Holter monitor is a battery-operated portable device that measures and records your heart’s activity continuously for 24 to 48 hours or longer depending on the type of monitoring used. The device is the size of a small camera. It has wires with silver-dollar-sized electrodes that attach to your skin. The Holter monitor and other devices that record your EKG as you go about your daily activities are called ambulatory electrocardiograms.
Regular electrocardiograms let your doctor look at your heart’s activity at one point in time during your EKG test. But abnormal heart rhythms and cardiac symptoms may come and go. That’s why your doctor may want to evaluate your heartbeat over time while you go about your normal activities. You may be asked to wear a Holter monitor if you have fast, slow or irregular heartbeats called arrhythmias.
A CT scan is an X-ray imaging technique that uses a computer to produce cross-sectional images. Also referred to as cardiac computed tomography, computerized axial tomography or CAT scan, it can be used to examine the heart and blood vessels for problems. It is also used to identify the blood vessels in the brain affected by stroke.
Our Toshiba Aquilion 80-slice, multi-detector CT scanning machine is the latest innovation in medical imaging. It provides large amounts of information and highly defined images in a short amount of time. This allows for an accurate scan, while making for a quick and painless experience for the patient.
The ankle-brachial index test is a painless exam that compares the blood pressure in the feet to the blood pressure in the arms to determine how well blood is flowing. This test is used to diagnose peripheral artery disease, or PAD, a condition that most often affects blood flow to the legs. The ankle-brachial index test takes only a few minutes and can be performed as part of a routine exam.
Pulmonary Function Test
Pulmonary function tests (PFTs) are a group of tests that measure how well your lungs work. This includes how well you’re able to breathe and how effective your lungs bring oxygen to the rest of your body.
Your doctor may order these tests if you’re having symptoms of lung problems or as part of a routine physical. Your doctor may also order tests to monitor how effective your treatment is if you have a lung disease or to assess how well your lungs are working before you have surgery.
Coronary Calcium Scans
Coronary calcium scans use a special X-ray test called computed tomography (CT) to check for the buildup of calcium in plaque on the walls of the arteries of the heart (coronary arteries). This test is used to check for heart disease in an early stage and to determine how severe it is. Coronary calcium scans are also called cardiac calcium scoring.
The coronary arteries supply blood to the heart. Normally, the coronary arteries do not contain calcium. Calcium in the coronary arteries is a sign of coronary artery disease (CAD).
A CT scan takes pictures of the heart in thin sections. The pictures are recorded in a computer and can be saved for more study or printed out as photographs.