A cardiac stress test is one of the common programs done to look at the physiological actions of the heart. The doctor will analyse the rate at which the heart is beating, the response of the heart rate, the response of average blood pressure and computerized ecg graph during the test. Apart from checking the physiological actions, it also considers how the heart works under stress.
The doctor prescribes a stress test for the patient:
- To check if there is any concern to the blood flow to the heart.
- To check the cardiovascular fitness.
- Before prescribing exercise.
- To check if the heart arrhythmias (irregular heart beat) that the patient have before gets worsened after exercise.
- As a routine follow up in patients who have already undergone angioplasty or bypass surgery in the past
A candidate for stress test is one:
- Who seeks cardiac evaluation for surgery.
- Who comes to see the doctor with an unspecified chest pain.
A stress test helps the doctor to determine the type of damage to the heart. Cardiac stress tests are of different types:
- Treadmill stress test (exercise heart rate).
- Stress echocardiogram.
- Nuclear stress test.
- Dobutamine or Adenosine stress test.
One of the most common among them is the exercise heart test. The exercise heart test includes walking on a treadmill. It is not suitable for candidates with chronic medical conditions, severe arthritis and abnormal resting heart rate. In such cases, the stress test is carried out with the help of medications to mimic the exercise test. This is to assess whether there are any blockages of blood flow to the heart before, after, during or simulated exercise. The test may take a couple of hours to complete. If the result of cardiac stress test is abnormal, the doctor will prescribe a suitable solution for it.