Cardiac Stress Testing

Friday, January 14, 2011

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in developed nations. Assessing the hearts function and examining the seriousness of coronary artery disease are the goals of cardiac stress testing. Dr. Edward Hill discusses this testing in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

Putting stress on the heart, such as with exercise or certain medications, makes the heart work harder. As part of an evaluation for cardiovascular disease in someone with chest pain, cardiac stress testing may be helpful in determining the need for invasive tests.

Exercise stress tests use cardiac monitoring while an individual walks on a treadmill with an increasingly steep incline. Technicians measure the heart rate, time walked on the treadmill, and the effort during the test, and the doctor looks for ECG changes.

Nuclear stress tests use an injection of a radionuclide to track blood flow and the pattern of ischemia when the heart is stressed.

Pharmacologic stress tests, often used for persons who cannot walk for more than a short distance, use drugs that put stress on the heart muscle.

Persons who have symptoms of heart disease and sedentary persons who are planning to start a vigorous exercise program sometimes are advised to undergo a stress test.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.