What Is A Stress Test?

Find out why stress tests are performed and what they can tell us about your heart.  

Has our cardiologist recommended that you or a loved one get a stress test? If so, you may be wondering what this test involves and why it’s necessary. To put it simply, a stress test is performed so that our Woodbridge & Stafford, VA, cardiologists can see just how well your heart is functioning.

Who can benefit from undergoing a stress test? 

If you are displaying any symptoms of heart disease such as chest pain, shortness of breath or an irregular heartbeat, then our heart doctor may advise you to get a stress test to figure out what’s causing your symptoms. A stress test is one of the best tools for diagnosing many heart problems. 

If you have diabetes or other risk factors that could increase your risk for heart disease, then our cardiology team may also recommend that you get a stress test. You may also need a stress test to see how the heart responds to certain medications.

What is involved in a stress test? 

Our Woodbridge & Stafford, VA, cardiologists will monitor your vitals during a stress test, including heart rate, breathing and blood pressure. We will also evaluate whether you are out of breath or fatigued during certain levels of physical exertion. This stress test can shed light on specific heart issues, such as poor blood supply to certain arteries in the heart. 

The test only takes about 15 minutes, and patients won’t be allowed to eat or drink for two hours before the test. Patients should also avoid caffeine, which can impact their results. As you will be walking and running at different speeds on a treadmill, you must wear comfortable clothes. 

Before beginning the test, we will apply electrodes to specific areas of the body, which will allow us to measure electrical activity within the heart during your test. We will provide you with instructions throughout the course of your test. If the patient cannot perform an exercise stress test, then an IV will be administered to deliver medication to stimulate the heart in the same way as exercise. 

If you are dealing with irregular heartbeat or our Woodbridge & Stafford, VA, cardiologists are concerned about blood or oxygen flow to the heart, they may recommend a stress test. To learn more or ask questions about your upcoming stress test, call NOVA Cardiovascular Care at (703) 492-6822 or (540) 628-2173.

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