Different Types of Cardiovascular Stress Tests

Preventing the need for serious stress test is a bit of advice and knowledge we all should have. A stationary bike test, or quick treadmill stress test, is in your best interest on an annual basis. It is important that you speak with your doctor about scheduling an annual medical physical, especially if you’ve never had one before. If you don’t have any symptoms, stress test may show something. If you don’t exercise regularly, this is a good thing to do.

One stress test method that’s very popular with cardiologists is the echocardiogram. In a way, it is an examination of your heart that can help them understand what is going on. So when they use a stress test, they are able to see what is happening with your heart in action. When a person is in a state of rest, problems cannot be easily discerned. The stress test consists of getting the patient to exercise, making their heart rate rise to a certain point. The heart rate is in what is called a “exercise state” so the echocardiogram can take proper measurements. The stress test will reveal, via the echocardiogram, something is wrong. Your doctor will be able to make that determination. You could have blockages in your arteries and vessels, causing problems for your heart in many ways. 

The echocardiogram gets the name because of the use of sound waves to produce an image of the heart. Different methods are used for measuring heart activity. A treadmill would be an example of this. One of the earlier methods was the EKG which consists of placing electrodes on the chest in certain places.

The EKG is actually produced by the electrical activity of the heart which is recorded. The diagnosis can be provided using a combination of the echocardiogram and the EKG. The treadmill exercise actually serves to send out sound waves to provide images of the heart based upon the patient’s heart rate. The images are much like videos, and it takes a very trained doctor to interpret them.

The stress test for your heart implies a number of things. The seriousness of the condition can be reflected by the fact that a person can actually perform the test itself. It’s doubtful that doctors will administer a stress test if there is a serious possibility of it inducing a heart attack.

People that are high risk will probably be given another type of test that is less likely to cause any problems. What will likely happen is the doctor will have a catheter inserted into the patient’s major artery through the leg area instead. The heart is then examined using the catheter which has a video camera on it so they can see what is happening inside. This procedure carries certain risks that are not always talked about. Some people have concerns about receiving radioactive injections for a nuclear stress test. Even though it’s a small amount, it’s understandable why they’re concerned. There are annual limits for radioactive exposure that apply to all people. Talk to your doctor if you have serious reservations and maybe there’s an alternative.