When a diagnosis needs to be made looking for heart disease of any kind, a cardiac stress test is one of the most helpful non-invasive test. The medical field uses the non-nuclear. or exercise stress test quite often. This involves the use of treadmills, stationary bikes, and other equipment. During the test, leads are connected to the chest to measure the electrical activity of the heart. An electrocardiogram will help determine whether the heart is healthy and normal. The electrocardiogram will also reveal if there are problems with the heart.
This basic stress test is a process that is not as complex as other kinds of stress tests. During the administering of a general test such as the treadmill or bicycle test, the patient’s heart will be examined via an EKG or ECG monitor. The patient walks at a decent pace on the treadmill. Over time, the treadmill speed is increased to stress the heart and raise the blood pressure, which is observed and monitored at all times. The doctor is always nearby in case of an emergency.
Another traditional kind of stress test is the nuclear stress test. This test utilizes a small amount of radioactive isotopes. The many different areas of the heart will absorb the isotope and create images that show low blood flow and heart muscle damage. This can give the doctor some indication about possible blockages.
When a doctor is diagnosing a patient’s heart, or determining whether certain treatments are effective, the nuclear test can give the doctor vital information regarding:
• the size of the chambers in the heart
• how well the heart is pumping blood
• the heart itself, whether any of it, for example muscle, is damaged
• the health of arteries that provide blood to the heart (coronary arteries), whether they have narrowed or are blocked due to coronary artery disease
• how effective a current treatment has been (heart surgery, angioplasty, medications, etc.)
• what to expect after having a heart attack.
The test may also help the doctor determine whether the patient is suitable for a cardiac rehabilitation program, and if so, how hard he/she should exercise.
It is clear that nuclear stress tests are an important tool for doctors in the diagnosis of various forms of heart disease. If you need to have one performed, then be absolutely sure that you ask as many questions as possible and that you get answers from your doctor. The more questions you ask, the better your knowledge of the situation will be as well as what your condition is.
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