Exercise stress test in Waco, Tx
Exercise stress test or simply stress test is done to test how your heart works during physical activity as our heart pumps blood at a faster rate during this period to compensate for the need for additional oxygen, so this test will help you figure out the problems related to the blood flow.
Also known as the “Treadmill Test” the patient is asked to run on a treadmill as a part of physical activity to do the test. The treadmill is connected to an Electrocardiogram which displays the voltage versus time graph showing the activity of the heart through electrodes. This test helps to identify if the blood supply decreases in the arteries going to the heart.
Purpose of an exercise stress test in Waco, Tx
A cardiologist generally advised an exercise stress test for the following reasons
Determining the capacity of the heart
The exercise stress test is done by doctors to estimate the capacity of the heart to pump blood to the body when it needs the most, that is during exercising or any physical activity.
Know the state of the heart
It is essential to determine the state of the heart in case of patients with heart-related issues such as Myocardial infarction, coronary artery disease or multiple disorders.
To plan a training program
This test is also important when someone is starting a new exercise program as it helps them to develop a training plan depending on the stress that can be handled by the patient.
It helps to determine blockage in the coronary artery which can be due to cholesterol or plaque deposits(atherosclerosis). It aids the doctor to determine any congestion in the arteries as it can lead to major complications in the heart and eventually lead to death.
To plan future treatment
It is important to notice here that the test will help you rule out the blockage in the artery. For treatment, you need to undergo a surgical procedure called Angioplasty.
Detecting any underlying problems
It helps healthcare providers get an idea about the underlying health-related diseases to generate a treatment plan accordingly.
Regular health checkup
It is also advised for patients who have a family history of heart disease.
How does the test work?
A healthcare worker basically follows this series of procedures to take an exercise stress test.
Medical case history
Take a medical case history of the patient in which they inquire about the long-term systemic diseases, previous treatments taken and personal habits to determine any complications related to the test.
After this, the doctor will do an overall clinical examination of the patient which includes a vital test i.e, blood test, blood pressure measurement, pulse check, temperature etc. This aids the clinician to figure out any underlying problems.
Connection of an ECG machine
The doctor will ask the patient to remove all their clothes and put on a sterilized gown. The chest of the patient will be connected to an ECG with the help of a minimum of 10 adhesive electrodes which will continuously monitor the heart rate and blood pressure prior to the test, at the time of the test and once at the end.
At the site of electrodes, the medical workers will initially sanitize the surface with alcohol and may even shave if required.
Connection of an oximeter
An oximeter will also be clipped to the fingers of the palm to monitor the oxygen level in the blood.
Measurement of blood pressure
A Sphygmomanometer is also cuffed around the patient’s arms to measure blood pressure.
Recording the vital signs
Initial blood pressure, heart rate, and pulse are noted down before the beginning of the test.
Starting the test
The patient is first asked to slowly run on the treadmill then the speed and the inclination are increased every 3 minutes.
Calculating the target heart rate
The target heart rate or the maximum heart rate to be achieved is determined by subtracting the age of the patient from 220. Since this test is effort and strength-dependent, the patient is asked to continue running till they reach 85% of the maximum heart rate calculated for the given age.
At every 3-minute interval, the patient’s blood pressure, partial pressure of the oxygen in the blood, and heart rate are noted down.
Monitoring the heart rate
The technologist will be monitoring the heart rate through the ECG. If he notices any issue, he will stop the patient right there. It’s the patient’s duty to inform the doctor and the technologist if he faces any discomfort in the chest, dizziness, or shortness of breath while performing the activity.
Generating a final report
The final report is sent to a cardiologist for proper diagnosis.
Other Types of Exercise Stress Test in Waco, Tx
Apart from running on a treadmill, there can be other forms of exercise stress tests such as
Pharmacological Exercise Stress Test
If the patient cannot perform the physical activities for the test, in that case, the doctor injects some medications such as Dipyridamole, and Regadenosone through the IV route to the patient. After waiting for 15-30 minutes, the heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen level are noted down. The medications tend to work similarly to what happens after heavy exercise.
Nuclear stress tests
Nuclear stress tests with the help of radiation can also be done for patients who don’t want to indulge in physical challenges. In this test, a tracer dye is injected which displays the areas where the blood is flowing and where it is not.
Instructions were given to the patient
Here are a few instructions given to the patient to avoid any complications.
Before the test
These instructions are given to the patients before conducting the exercise stress test.
Consumption of medicines
48 hours before the test, the patient is asked to stop the consumption of caffeine or any medicine which increases the heart rate including weight loss pills or steroids.
The patient can continue their normal medication if they have any.
Warning for smokers
The patient is asked to cease smoking at least 24 hours before the test.
For cardiac patients
If the patient is suffering from any heart-related problems, then the medication must be stopped 48 hours before the test.
For diabetic patients
If the patient is taking insulin shots, then he must first consult a professional doctor on how much he should take before the test.
The blood sugar level of a diabetic patient is also calculated before the test.
Intake of meals
On the day of the test, the patient is advised to not eat or drink anything to avoid nausea and vomiting during excessive physical activity.
The patient is advised to wear comfortable clothes and shoes to avoid any sort of discomfort during the test.
For asthmatic patients
If the patient uses an inhaler due to asthma or bronchial problems, it is advisable to carry it during the test.
After the test
The patient should also follow a few rules after the completion of the test such as
Decreasing the intensity
At the end of the test, the speed of the treadmill will be slowly decreased. The patient will be given water at the end.
The patient is asked to first stand for a while and then sit after the test is over.
The patient will at least be observed for 6 minutes. The lab technician will note down the blood pressure, oxygen level, and heart rate at the end of the test.
In the case of a diabetic patient, the blood sugar level is also monitored after the test.
Exercise stress test scoring
The exercise stress test scoring is done on the basis of metabolic equivalents achieved by the patient. The metabolic equivalent at rest position is 3.5 mL oxygen uptake per kg per minute.
The test is scored as follows
- A metabolic equivalent of less than 5 is considered to be “poor”
- Metabolic equivalent between 5-8 is scored as “fair.”
- A score of 9-11 is counted to be “good.”
- The metabolic equivalent of 12 or more is considered to be “excellent.”
The exercise stress test is considered positive for myocardial infarction (the heart muscles don’t receive enough oxygen) if the ECG report shows premature and multifocal ventricular contractions.
It can further be termed as “strongly” and “probably” depending on the depression of the ST segment of the electrocardiograph. Additional symptoms like pain in the chest, decrease in the pressure of the blood flow, or production of heart murmur also adds to a positive test result.
What does the report detect?
The exercise stress test report determines the blood flow to the heart. The normal blood pressure during the exercise stress test should range from 160 mm Hg to 220 mm Hg. Any abnormalities in the blood pressure, heart sounds, or heartbeat may indicate the following
- The disease of the coronary artery (CAD)
- Myocardial infarction
- Decrease in the cardiac output
- Congestion of the coronary artery
Contra-indications of the stress test
The stress test is highly restricted in the case of
- Uncontrolled angina pectoris
- Acute pericarditis
- Acute myocarditis
- Acute pulmonary embolism
- Severe aortic stenosis
- Imbalance of the electrolytes in the body
- High blood pressure
- High-degree AV blockage
Things to consider before performing an exercise stress test on women
The health worker has to be extra conscious while performing the test on women regards to the following
The menstrual period is a concern
Before performing an exercise stress test on a woman, it is essential to inquire about the menstrual period.
Pregnancy cannot be overlooked
If a woman is pregnant, this test should not be performed. Even though there have been cases where the stress test has been performed on a pregnant woman, it is safe to not do it to avoid risks. The only good thing about performing this test would be that it allows us to determine the risk of pregnancy if performed in the first trimester.
The nuclear stress test should definitely not be performed on a pregnant lady as it requires exposure to radiation which can be harmful to the infant. The following things may arise if the stress test is performed during pregnancy
- Restricted growth of the baby
- Increase in the blood pressure
- Gestational diabetes
- Decrease in the amount of amniotic fluid
For the conduction of an accurate exercise stress test, you may try out the Best Clinic to get an Exercise Stress Test in Waco, TX. Along with a well-equipped and clean environment, you will also be properly guided by expert technicians and well-educated doctors.
How long does the exercise stress test last?
The exercise stress test should at least last 10-12 minutes or a maximum of 15 minutes with a continuous increase in the intensity and inclination every 3 minutes unless the test is prematurely stopped if the patient feels pain and discomfort.
Is the stress test exercise painful?
The stress test exercise doesn’t cause any sort of pain. Continuous exercise for a few minutes may lead to difficulty in breathing and cause muscle fatigue but it gets cured on its own sometime after the exercise is stopped. However, if the patient complains of chest pain or shortness of breath then it is a matter of concern.
How can I prepare myself for an exercise stress test?
Before going through an exercise stress test, you should avoid eating anything at least 3 hours prior to the test. You must avoid wearing any tight or uncomfortable clothes.
Why would a cardiologist advise a stress test?
A cardiologist advises a stress test when there is any problem in the flow of blood to the heart or issues in the heart muscles. The stress test will help the cardiologist to determine these hidden diseases and plan an effective treatment for them at the earliest to avoid complications in the future.
Who should not undergo an exercise stress test?
The exercise stress test should not be performed in
- The patients with severe heart problems the test can elevate the condition and may even lead to sudden cardiac arrest.
- The patients with a history of previous cardiac problems or heart attacks.
- Women who are in their second or third trimester.
- Women who have just given birth i.e, during the post-parturition period, are also not considered to be safe.
- Lactating women are also contraindicated.
Does the stress test always detect blockage in the arteries?
The stress test can easily determine the large blockage in the coronary artery carrying blood to the heart whereas small blockages might sometimes get missed. This might result in an increase in the size of the plaque-causing decreased thickening of the lumen of the artery.
What if I panic during the exercise stress test?
If the patient starts panicking during the exercise stress test, it will create a disbalance in the hemodynamics of the body and severe anxiety may even induce ischemic conditions. Sudden anxiety episodes may result in errors in the blood pressure report.
Best Clinic to Get exercise stress test in Waco, Tx
If you’re looking for the best place to get an exercise stress test in Waco, TX, then look no further than Lonestar Heart & Wellness. We offer a wide range of services and have a highly skilled and experienced staff. Plus, We have a great team of medical professionals who are always willing to help their patients get the best possible care.