Cardiac Stress Testing
To detect heart problems that may not be apparent at rest, an exercise stress test reveals how well your heart functions when it works harder. You will walk on a treadmill, with the speed and incline increased gradually. Any chest pain can be compared with changes on the ECG that show a lack of oxygen to the heart muscle.
If you are unable to walk as exercise for any reason, we may inject medications through a vein to simulate exercise-related stress on the heart.
A nuclear cardiac scan is another exercise stress test that uses a radioactive substance, or tracer, to produce images of the heart muscle. A small amount of tracer, Technetium or Thallium, is injected into a vein in your arm while you walk on a treadmill, then images of the heart are taken. Blood flow to different regions of the heart can be seen, and reduced flow to any area of the heart during stress, with normal blood flow to the same area at rest, indicates significant artery narrowing.
Nuclear Cardiac SPECT
Stress tests are tests performed by a doctor and/or trained technician to determine the amount of stress that your heart can manage before developing either an abnormal rhythm or evidence of ischemia (not enough blood flow to the heart muscle) in a controlled clinical environment. To detect heart problems that may not be apparent at rest, an exercise stress test reveals how well your heart functions when it works harder. You will walk on a treadmill, with the speed and incline increased gradually while your electrocardiogram, heart rate, and blood pressure are monitored. Any chest pain can be compared with changes on the ECG that show a lack of oxygen to the heart muscle.
Non-Invasive Testing (EKGs, Stress Echos, Echos, & Dopplers)
EKG, or electrocardiogram, records your heart’s electrical activity through several small pads placed on your chest, arms and legs. The heart’s electrical impulses cause a needle to trace the heartbeat as a wavy line.
An exercise stress echocardiogram combines a non-invasive echocardiogram (an ultrasound image of the heart obtained through a Doppler probe) with an exercise test. When an artery is significantly narrowed, the area of heart muscle supplied by that artery does not pump as well as the rest of the heart. These abnormalities in muscle contraction can be detected and recorded.
Vascular Ultrasound (Extremity & Abdominal Doppler)
Ultrasound imaging, also called ultrasound scanning or sonography, involves exposing part of the body to high-frequency sound waves to see its interior. Ultrasound exams are not x-rays. Ultrasound images are captured in real-time, showing the structure and movement of the body’s internal organs, as well as blood flowing.
Ultrasound imaging is usually painless. Vascular ultrasound captures the body’s veins and arteries. A Doppler ultrasound study may be part of a vascular ultrasound exam, a special technique that evaluates blood as it flows through a blood vessel, including major arteries and veins in the abdomen, arms, legs and neck.