Who Should Have a Stress Test and How Often?

Heart problems aren’t always visible when the heart is in a resting state. A stress test involves a monitored exercise session that helps find the cause of problematic heart symptoms or determine if you may require more extensive treatments for your heart condition, such as surgery. 

At Harlem Cardiology on Madison Avenue in New York, New York, our talented stable of physicians can perform this test and recommend some lifestyle changes and treatments to get your heart back under control.

How stress tests work

Before the test, you will be advised to avoid smoking and to possibly avoid taking any prescription medications. This will ensure the most accurate results. 

The exercise test is designed to measure blood flow to your heart. You will be hooked up to an electrocardiogram machine, or EKG, to record your heart’s activity while you work out, either on an exercise bike or a treadmill aimed uphill. 

As your heart rate increases the harder you exercise, your heart is forced to pump harder, which can reveal to our specialists some issues that otherwise would not be visible.

Once you complete the exercise, you will be asked to stay still for a minute and lie down as the EKG machine monitors your heart rate as it gradually returns to rest mode. Those who are physically unable to exercise can take a drug that increases blood flow in order to mimic the effects of exercise.

Some patients may require a procedure called a nuclear stress test. This involves a special type of dye that imaging technology uses to highlight poor blood flow to your heart. Another possible procedure is called a stress echocardiography, which uses ultrasound to examine and record heart function.

Who can benefit from taking stress tests?

Patients who have, or have had, coronary artery disease (CAD) or heart arrhythmias can benefit from regular stress testing. Stress tests can be used to diagnose other heart conditions, and help our team of specialists devise an appropriate rehabilitation program. These tests are also beneficial to patients who may require heart transplants or other forms of cardiac surgery for more serious conditions.

Learn more about stress tests and how they can advance your health

If you want to learn more about stress tests or have other questions about heart health, you can reach book an appointment with one of our eight heart specialists by calling 646-381-2181. You can also book an appointment online. We look forward to meeting you and answering your questions about stress tests and heart health. 

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