A stress test? No, this isn’t the part where we follow you around at work and see how high your blood pressure goes when you open your email inbox, or how red your face is with frustration when you walk out of a meeting you’d been dreading all week.
The exercise stress test we are talking about, stress test Cardiolite, is a medical test – specifically focused on your heart and on the stress it experiences.
What is exercise stress testing?
An exercise stress test is also known as a treadmill test or just an exercise test, and it is designed to help your doctor find out how well your heart handles work – or stress being put on it.
In a stress test Cardiolite, slightly different imaging methods are used. In this diagnostic test, two heart scans are compared.
Why does finding this out matter?
Your heart is one of your most important organs. It is responsible for pumping blood throughout your body, providing oxygen and nutrients to tissues and removing carbon dioxide and other wastes. Without this oxygen and nutrients, the other tissues in the body would die.
The more stress that is put on your heart, the more oxygen it requires so that it can pump blood to your body. Your heart is a hard-working organ, but too much additional stress can cause problems.
Stress can cause long-term damage on your heart, and this additional stress can be brought on by a variety of things.
Why might this test be recommended?
There are a few different reasons why your physician might want to perform a stress test.
This test can be compared to the same thing a mechanic is doing when he or she runs the engine of a car to see if it has the proper “oomph” behind it.
Some of these reasons include:
- To determine a safe level of exercise.
- To determine what is causing symptoms that could possibly be related to your heart such as lightheadedness, shortness of breath or chest pain.
- To diagnose coronary artery disease.
- To check the effectiveness of heart procedures done in patients to improve coronary artery circulation.
- To predict the potential risk of a heart-related condition.
What does the test usually entail?
With a Cardiolite test, the first scan is done while you are at rest. An isotope – Cardiolite – will be injected by IV into your bloodstream and your resting heart scan is obtained.
As the isotope circulates to your heart, a scanning camera traces how much of it is absorbed.
Next, a treadmill exercise test is performed – like during a normal stress test – to see how the heart muscles respond to an increased heart rate.
Lastly, Cardiolite is given again and a post-exercise heart scan is obtained.
Depending on the results of your test, your physician might recommend more tests, a medical procedure, or a change in diet.
The results and next steps will vary based on the patient.
To schedule a test, or to learn more, get in touch with our team today.