When standard diagnostic tools can't find the cause of your heart-related symptoms, stress testing could provide the answers. If you need help with a challenging diagnosis, cardiovascular imaging specialist Henry Lucid, MD, at Heart and Vascular of Central Texas can help. At locations in Cedar Park, Round Rock, and Georgetown, Texas, Dr. Lucid and his team have outstanding on-site stress testing facilities at their accredited labs. Call the office nearest you to find out more or schedule a consultation using the online booking tool today.
Stress testing is a procedure that raises your heart rate and makes your heart pump harder. It can identify cardiac conditions and abnormalities that don’t show when you have a regular test.
The most common type of stress testing uses an electrocardiogram (EKG), which measures the electrical activity in your heart during exercise. Other types of stress testing include:
This type of stress testing requires you to have an injection of radioactive material into your bloodstream. The material shows up on imaging technology, helping to highlight damaged tissues and poor blood flow.
An echocardiogram creates moving images of your heart using ultrasound technology. It's particularly useful for identifying structural and valvular problems.
Heart and Vascular of Central Texas also uses cutting-edge techniques like perfusion imaging to diagnose even the most challenging heart problems.
One of the main reasons for undergoing stress testing is to determine the cause of symptoms that seem to be heart-related but aren't identifiable on a standard EKG or echocardiogram.
Stress testing is a useful method of monitoring your condition if you have a heart condition and you're receiving treatment. It enables your provider to make adjustments to your treatment plan that optimize your recovery.
If you're awaiting cardiac surgery, stress testing can help confirm whether you're ready for the procedure. It's also a valuable tool for assessing whether you need major surgery like a heart transplant in the first place.
The process of undergoing stress testing varies as there are different types of tests. A straightforward exercise stress test takes about an hour. You might have instructions to follow about when and if you should stop eating, drinking, smoking, and taking medication.
First, your technician attaches the monitoring equipment, for instance sticking electrodes on your skin for the EKG. You start exercising on a treadmill or stationary bicycle, gradually increasing your effort according to your provider's instructions.
The phase during which you're exercising most vigorously only lasts about 15 minutes. However, if you're unable to exercise, you can take a medicine that makes your heart behave in the same way.
Your provider might perform tests before, during, and after you exercise to gather as much information about your heart function as possible.
To find out more about stress testing and how it can help in your diagnosis or treatment, call Heart and Vascular of Central Texas or book an appointment online today.