Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Heart Stress Test
The heart stress test is used for diagnosing heart diseases. The stress tests are the tests performed by an expert technician or physician to consider the amount of stress that your heart is able to manage before developing either evidence of ischemia or an abnormal rhythm. The exercise stress test is considered to be the most commonly performed stress test. The heart stress test is performed for several reasons like:
* to determine if there is proper blood flow to your heart while developing levels of activity
* to evaluate the effectiveness of your heart medicines to manage ischemia and angina
* to test the effectiveness of procedures performed to develop blood flow within the heart vessels of those who have coronary heart disease
* to identify uncommon heart rhythms
A stress echo cardiogram is one of the major types of the heart stress tests. This test is generally known as “echo”, which is a graphic outline of your heart's movement. A stress echo can perfectly show pumping action and the motion of the heart's wall when your heart is stressed.
Nuclear stress test is another major heart stress test that helps to find out which parts of your heart are healthy and work normally and which are not. During this test, a very small harmless quantity of radioactive substance is entered into the body of the patient. After that, the technician uses a special camera to identify the rays generated from the substance within the body. This procedure provides clear pictures of the heart tissue on a screen. Before preparing for this test, you can discuss with your doctor about any particular instructions.
The Adenosine stress is also performed as the heart stress test and it is used in patients who are unable to do any type of exercises. During this test, a medicine is provided to make the heart respond as if the patient was exercising. With this test, a doctor can identify how your heart responds to stress. Preparation for this type of test varies from the preparation for other tests.
Your doctor will inform you not to drink or eat anything except a small amount of water for at least three hours before the heart stress test. At the same time, you should avoid eating foods that have caffeine for 12 hours prior to the test, as the caffeine can interfere with the results of the test. You are also suggested no to take the heart medicines on the day of your test. However, if the doctor advises only then, you can take any type of medications on the day of the test. If you have any queries regarding your heart medicines, discuss with your doctor before the test. If you use an inhaler for adequate breathing, you should bring it with you into the test room.
If you have diabetes and take insulin to control your blood sugar, then ask your physician what quantity of the medicine you can take on the day of the test. Generally, the doctors suggest to take only half of the daily morning dose. However, if you take tablets to control the blood sugar, it is advisable not to take the medicine until your heart stress test is complete.