Caring for your heart is at the top of our list at Northwest Heart Center. So when our specialists are concerned about your heart’s health, we may recommend a stress test. It is a non-invasive and brief assessment that gives a clear picture of your heart’s health. This way, if something is wrong, our cardiologists can determine how to proceed with creating your personalized treatment plan.
Stress tests help our cardiologists know how well your heart performs when it is pumping at a faster rate. Moreover, stress testing provides insight into the presence of a heart condition.
With our expertise, you can attain a wide range of heart-related services to ensure your cardiovascular health remains intact. You can call or reach out to us at (281) 351-6250 via text at any time if you have any concerns or questions about chest pain. We are always available to provide you with the answers you need.
Why Stress Tests are Needed
Being a diagnostic procedure, our cardiologist can know how well your heart functions when forced to work harder than normal. Furthermore, these tests also help diagnose what is causing symptoms such as chest pain, dizziness, shortness of breath, and more. With this assessment, our team can diagnose heart conditions, which include:
- Heart failure
- Heart arrhythmias
- Heart valve disease
- Coronary artery disease
Types of Stress Test
When our heart specialist recommends a stress test, you can count on us for accurate results. Our friendly team will guide you through the entire procedure and let you know what to expect. Moreover, you will receive instructions on how to prepare for a stress test beforehand to make sure everything goes smoothly.
Our technician might ask you to stop eating or drinking for a certain time period before the stress test. They might also advise against taking specific medications. In addition, you may have to bring an inhaler to the stress test, given that you use it. As for the clothing and shoes, they should be comfortable. And don’t forget: applying oils, lotion, and creams is also to be avoided.
A stress test is conducted to get an update on your heart’s performance when it is beating fast, which could take around an hour. Here is what goes on during different types of stress tests:
1. Treadmill Stress Test
A treadmill stress test involves walking on a treadmill. You will be asked to begin the exercise slowly and increase the intensity over time. During the procedure, our experts will monitor your cardiac function on an EKG. When your heart reaches a target rate, you will be asked to stop. If you start experiencing chest pain, it might indicate that your heart is not receiving sufficient blood supply.
You should inform us right away if you start feeling discomfort or pain during the stress test.
2. Nuclear Stress Test
By conducting a nuclear stress test, we can distinguish the parts of your heart that are working properly from the parts that are not. In a nuclear stress test, our team will inject a small amount of radioactive substance. After that, we use a special camera that helps us identify the rays emitted by the substance in our body. With the help of a camera and the substance, clear pictures of your heart tissue are produced on a monitor. We will take pictures of your heart when it is at rest and after exercising.
Your heart specialist can know the issue after comparing both images, giving them an idea of the problem areas.
3. Cardiac PET Scan
We also offer a cardiac PET scan, which involves injecting a radioactive substance known as a radiotracer. This substance is connected to your blood cells and travels to your heart.
PET scan creates a picture of your heart by picking up on the energy released by tracers. It is an advanced imaging technique that presents details regarding the blood flow to your heart muscles, revealing:
- Your risk of having a heart attack
- Scarred heart tissues due to a heart attack
- Coronary artery disease
- Certain areas that do not receive sufficient blood
- Damaged muscles that do not require immediate treatment for survival
PET scans, when used with a nuclear stress test, tend to show more accurate results compared to exercise stress tests and a standard nuclear stress test.
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