A stress test usually takes about an hour, including both prep time and the time it takes to do the actual test. The actual exercise test takes only around 15 minutes. You'll usually walk on a treadmill or pedal a stationary bicycle.
A primary reason why a stress test is performed is to assess the patient's blood and oxygen flow to their heart. A stress test can potentially diagnose medical conditions like coronary artery disease. During a stress test, a patient may have an irregular heartbeat or their heart rate might speed up or slow down.
A heart stress test is fairly safe. It simulates strenuous exercise, such as jogging or running up a flight stairs, so there are only minimal risks associated with a stress test, such as a change in blood pressure or abnormal heart rhythm.
How Should I Prepare for the Exercise Stress Test?
Nov 6, 2020
The lexiscan stress test involves injecting a medication called lexiscan into your IV while you are closely monitored. The medication makes the heart respond as if you are exercising. This test is used for people that are unable to exercise or can't exercise for very long.
Abnormal results may be due to:
After a baseline recording taken at rest, you begin walking on a treadmill at a slow pace (under 2 mph). Every few minutes, the speed and steepness of the treadmill increase, making you work harder. The goal is to exercise until you're too tired or out of breath.
You will be asked to walk on a treadmill for approximately 5 to 15 minutes. The test begins slowly and increases gradually in speed and incline every two to three minutes. During this time, your heart rate, blood pressure and EKG will be monitored.
The nurse will help you with them after you are awake. You will not be allowed to eat or drink until the medicine used to numb your throat wears off. This usually takes 30 to 60 minutes. You may not drive yourself home after your test.
You may use deodorant prior to the test. Please wear loose, comfortable clothing and walking shoes. Please do not wear flip-flops, sandals or clogs. What to expect during the test: Small electrodes will be placed on your chest which will be connected to a heart monitor.
Although extremely rare, it's possible that a nuclear stress test could cause a heart attack. Low blood pressure. Blood pressure may drop during or immediately after exercise, possibly causing you to feel dizzy or faint. The problem should go away after you stop exercising.
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Stress testing detects arteries that are severely narrowed (70% or more). This is what causes symptoms. Heart attacks often result from lesser blockages that rupture and form clots.
It may be best to do a chemical stress test as opposed to exercise if you are not able to walk safely on the treadmill, have certain EKG patterns, a pacemaker, or a defibrillator. In addition, if you try the treadmill and cannot achieve the target heart rate, then a chemical stress test will be necessary.
You may feel similar to what you would feel if you were exercising. You may feel a shortness of breath, headache, flushing, chest discomfort or chest pain, or dizziness.
Medications with caffeine: Do not take any over-the-counter medication that contains caffeine (such as Excedrin®, Anacin®, diet pills and NoDoz®) for 24 hours before the test. Ask your physician, pharmacist or nurse if you have questions about other medications that may contain caffeine.
A stress echo is a more dynamic test that examines the heart in action. It combines an ultrasound of the heart with a stress test. A stress test, often called a treadmill test, measures how your heart works when experiencing added workload or “stress” of exercise.