If you or your loved one has or may have a heart condition, a cardiac stress test is a valuable way to diagnose the condition and evaluate the success of potential treatments. At Richmond University Medical Center in Staten Island, New York, we offer stress testing, as well as a comprehensive suite of other evaluations, to deliver fast, accurate diagnoses and quality treatments for a wide range of cardiac conditions.
What Is a Cardiac Stress Test?
A cardiac stress test is a non-invasive cardiology diagnostic exam. It is designed to analyze how your heart and blood pressure respond to physical exertion. The results from a cardiac stress test are useful in a number of ways, including:
- Diagnosing coronary artery disease and heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias)
- Planning treatment for heart disorders
- Predicting the risk of heart attack
- Checking the effectiveness of prior treatments
Cardiac stress tests may be administered alongside other non-invasive tests, such as an echocardiogram, to ensure an accurate diagnosis or to evaluate how other factors change after stress.
What to Expect on Testing Day
Your physician will provide clear instructions on how to prepare for your cardiac stress test. You may be asked to not eat, drink, or smoke on the day of the test. If you take medications, ask your physician whether any of them will interfere. Richmond University Medical Center also recommends wearing comfortable clothes and shoes and bringing your inhaler if you use one.
A cardiac stress test follows this procedure:
- Your physician will ask questions to determine the appropriate amount of exercise for the test.
- Several sticky patches called electrodes will be attached to your legs, arms, and torso to measure your heart rate.
- A cuff will also be placed on your arm to measure and record your blood pressure.
- You will start exercising on a treadmill or stationary bicycle. The exercise begins slowly and becomes more difficult as the test progresses.
- You may be asked to sit still or lie down with monitors in place for a time after exercising.
The test will last as long as necessary to get the results your physician is looking for – usually only 15 to 20 minutes. Once you have been released, you are free to return to your daily activities as normal.
When to Get a Stress Test
At Richmond University Medical Center, we may request a cardiac stress test if we suspect you have a condition or illness that’s exacerbated by physical stress. Symptoms that may indicate the need for a stress test include the following:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Dizziness or fainting
- Heart palpitations
We may also order a cardiac stress test to evaluate your future risk of a heart attack. If you are older or have diabetes, a family history of heart problems, a habit of smoking or alcohol use, or high cholesterol, a stress test may help discover whether you should be concerned about future complications.
Schedule Cardiology Testing Today
Cardiac stress tests are essential tools for ensuring an accurate diagnosis of treatment and evaluating the efficacy of future treatments. At Richmond University Medical Center, our cardiology staff is well-versed in administering and interpreting a variety of cardiology tests, allowing you to receive the best possible care. To learn more or to schedule a stress test, contact us today.