Diagnostic Testing

Stress Testing

Adenosine Stress Test. Adenosine has been proven to be a very accurate and safe method of obtaining information. The effect of adenosine on blood vessels can allow for the detection of blockages in the heart’s blood vessels when combined with nuclear images of the heart muscle obtained before and after the adenosine is given.

Dobutamine Stress Test. This is a test that combines an ultrasound study of the heart with a pharmacological stress test. It looks at how the heart functions when it is made to work harder. A stress test usually involves exercising, either on a treadmill or stationary bike. For patients who are unable to exercise adequately, the test may be performed with a drug called Dobutamine. Dobutamine has an effect on the heart similar to exercise.

Nuclear Stress Testing. Nuclear testing involves the injection of a radioactive isotope through an IV. The isotope travels in the bloodstream and through the coronary arteries until it is picked up by the heart muscle cells. The areas of the heart that have an adequate blood supply pick up the tracer right away and more completely. Areas that do not have adequate blood supply pick up the tracer very slowly or not at all. A computer processes the information and produces the images of the radioactivity distributed in the heart. These images allow the doctor to compare the amount of blood flowing through the heart muscle during stress and at rest.

Exercise Stress Test. An exercise stress test, sometimes called a treadmill test, can help your doctor find out how well your heart handles work. As your body works harder during the test, it requires more oxygen, so the heart must pump more blood. The test can show if the blood supply is reduced in the arteries that supply the heart. Blood supply levels can also indicate coronary artery disease, a possible heart-related cause of symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath or lightheadedness, to check the effectiveness of past procedures, and to help predict the risk of a heart attack. The stress test results also help doctors know the kind and level of exercise appropriate for a patient. Depending on the results of the exercise stress test, the physician may recommend more tests such as a nuclear stress test or cardiac catheterization.

Stress Echocardiogram. This test involves a transthoracic echocardiogram both before and after your heart is stressed either by having you exercise or by injecting a medication (dobutamine) that makes your heart beat harder and faster. A stress echocardiogram is usually done to determine whether you may have a significantly reduced flow of blood to your heart (coronary artery disease).

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