The human body is only able to handle a certain amount of stress before it affects blood flow to the heart. Stress testing, also known as stress echocardiography or stress echo is done by professionals at our Livonia Medical Clinic location to determine how much stress your body is able to handle and just how well your heart and blood vessels are working. Stress testing can be used to pinpoint the source of a heart problem or monitor heart activity after a procedure. It is often used to diagnose coronary heart disease among patients.
How is a stress test performed?
Typically, a stress echo begins while the patient is resting, this is also known as an echocardiogram. Doctors will gather an ultrasound of your chest as you lie on your left side. The next step of stress testing requires the patient to exercise on a stationary bike or treadmill to increase heart rate. Your Livonia Clinic doctor monitors the rhythm of your heart rate as well as your blood pressure during this procedure. If you are unable to exercise, there are alternative options available to complete the stress testing process.
The reason a stress test monitors your heart at rest as well as while your heart rate is increased is that many patients who have coronary artery blockages may not experience symptoms while they are at rest. The exercise portion of the testing process can expose stress to the heart or blood vessels when the heart rate is increased.
Why would someone need a stress echocardiogram test?
Patients who are experiencing chest pains or shortness of breath are often referred for an echocardiogram to determine whether the cause of pain or shortness of breath is due to abnormal blood flow through the heart chambers or heart valves. If there is suspicion of coronary heart disease, your doctor may want to proceed with a complete stress echocardiogram. If you have previously had procedures such as a stent placement, a stress test can be used to monitor how well the procedure is working.
Prior to performing the stress echo, your doctor will discuss how to prepare for the test, how the test will feel, and why the test is being performed. Upon completion of the test, your doctor will discuss the results of the test and determine the best treatment option if necessary.
For more information on stress testing at Livonia Clinic, contact us today.