Stress Tests in Diagnosis of Heart Disease

cpsp-un-uc-dThe Sherman Health Regional Heart Center offers the latest technology in cardiac care as well as a full array of diagnostic procedures, including stress tests performed at the Non–Invasive Cardiology Department. Stress tests are great diagnostic tools for patients at risk for heart disease.

Initial screenings for Coronary Artery Disease commonly involves stressing the heart under controlled conditions. These stress tests are able to detect the presence of flow-limiting blockages in the coronary arteries, generally in the range of at least a 50% reduction in the diameter of at least one of the three major coronary arteries.

The types of stress tests are:

  • Exercise cardiac stress testing that involves exercising the patient on a treadmill to  evaluate the effect of stress on the heart. This test is useful to evaluate patient’s functional capacity.
  • Pharmacological stress testing that involves chemically stimulating the heart directly to mimic the stress of exercise.  This testing can be used for patients who are unable to exercise due to a variety of conditions including arthritis, severe lung disease, severe cardiac disease, orthopedic conditions and neurological disorders.
  • Radionuclide stress testing that involves injecting a radioactive isotope intravenously. The radioactive isotopes are absorbed by the normal heart muscle. Nuclear images are obtained in the resting condition and again immediately following exercise. The two sets of images are then compared.
  • Another modality to the exercise or pharmacological test is a Stress Echocardiography test or “echo.” This test produces images of the heart at rest and at the peak of exercise. In a heart with normal blood supply, all segments of the left ventricle exhibit enhanced contractions of the heart muscle during peak exercise. Conversely, in the setting of CAD, if a segment of the left ventricle does not receive optimal blood flow during exercise, that segment will demonstrate reduced contractility of heart muscle relative to the rest of the heart on the exercise echocardiogram.  Stress echo is preferred when the patient is suspected to have valvular problem or stenosis.

Be sure to discuss your particular CAD “risk factor profile” with your doctor in order to decide if and/or which tests are most appropriate.   Any type of stress test can be scheduled at Sherman Hospital Non- Invasive Department Monday through Friday from 8 AM to 4 PM and Saturday from 8 AM to 12 PM.  For appointments, please call the scheduling department at 847-429-8972 or fill out the Contact Form Online.

About Sherman Health

Sherman Health has provided medical care to Northern IL since 1888, and is currently home to a network of over 600 physicians. The Sherman blogs are edited by me, Luke. Questions? Comments? Links? Email address is luke at shermanhealth dot com.
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