Stress tests help observe blood flow conditions to test for Atrial Fibrillation.

Stress tests are commonly used to test for Atrial Fibrillation. Stress tests demonstrate to doctors whether or not the blood flow to your heart is normal during exercise. Most forms of stress tests are conducted while the patient is using a treadmill. The most common methods of stress tests are basic treadmill tests, echo stress tests and nuclear stress tests.

What to Expect During your Visit

  • You may be asked to perform a basic treadmill test, in which you will walk on a treadmill to stress your heart. The treadmill will get faster and steeper every 3 minutes and your nurse or doctor will watch your EKG and blood pressure and ask you about any symptoms you are feeling.
  • An echo stress test will be conducted while you are resting. After you rest, you will walk on a treadmill to stress your heart and another echo test will be performed to determine how well your heart pumps blood.
  • Your doctor may suggest a nuclear stress test, a test in which you walk on a treadmill to stress your heart followed by a doctor giving you a medicine through a vein in your arm to show the flow of blood to your heart.
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Frequently Asked Questions

Nuclear stress tests are ordered to look for blocked heart arteries

You need to arrive fasting and wearing comfortable clothes. Part of the heart is behind the stomach. Food in the stomach will result in poor images and possibly giving an inaccurate result. You should avoid any liquids except a minimal amount of water.

Yes you should take your regularly scheduled meds the day of the test. There are 2 EXCEPTIONS: 1. Because you are fasting you need to AVOID taking your diabetic meds. However you should bring your diabetic meds to the test. There will be a time during the test when you are able to eat and you will need the diabetic medicine at that point. 2. If you are doing a treadmill stress test we need to increase your heart rate for an accurate test. You should hold your beta-blocker (metoprolol, atenolol, coreg) the evening before and the morning of the test.

In a stress test the doctor compares symptoms, your ecg, and images of your heart both at rest and after exercising. The heart can be exercised via treadmill or if unable to use a treadmill using chemical to simulate exercise. You should expect to to be present for 2-3 hours. You will need to lay flat, preferrably with your arms above your head, for a set of resting images and a second set of images after stress.

Within a day or 2 after completing the test you should be contacted with your results. If you are not, please call for your results.

An EKG is a snapshot of the electric patterns in your heart that make it beat. It is a routine test in any cardiac evaluation. You can expect to have one during an initial evaluation and any time there is a change in symptoms. It is also used to monitor effects of certain medications. The test is administered by a medical assistant or nurse in the office. It allows us to look at for irregularities in the electrical rhythm of your heart as well as give us clues to structural abnormalities of the heart.

There are several types of stress tests that we perform. Some involve getting on a treadmill, while others involve medicine put into a vein. During the stress test, we look at your heart different techniques, including ECGs, ultrasound, or nuclear images.

Different types of stress tests last different amounts of time and can vary from 30 minutes to over 3 hours.

Please wear comfortable clothes and shoes that you are able to walk and run in.

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