The standard diagnostic tool in cardiology is the ECG (electrocardiogram), which records the electrical activity in your heart. If your ECG doesn't reveal what's causing your symptoms, the team of board-certified cardiologists at Peak Heart & Vascular in Laveen, Surprise, Avondale, Flagstaff, and Phoenix, Arizona, might need you to undergo stress testing, which uses the ECG to record your heart's activity when you're exercising. Find out more about stress testing and how it can help with your diagnosis by calling Peak Heart & Vascular today. You can also schedule a consultation online.
The Peak Heart & Vascular team uses stress testing to assess blood flow through your heart. The procedure involves exercising while an electrocardiogram (ECG) records your heart's electrical activity.
During exercise, your blood has to pump harder, and your heart rate increases. Your provider can use the readings from the ECG to detect abnormal heart function that wouldn't necessarily show up during a resting ECG.
One of the primary diagnostic tools in cardiology is the ECG, so if you have symptoms of heart problems, you're likely to undergo this painless, noninvasive test. However, not all heart health problems are apparent when your heart's at rest.
If your ECG readings look normal, your provider might need you to have a stress test to help find the cause of your symptoms.
Stress testing is also a useful way of determining the type of arrhythmia you have when you've got an abnormal heart rhythm, and it's helpful for diagnosing coronary artery disease. You might need a stress test if you're receiving treatment at Peak Heart & Vascular, to assess your progress.
Your provider at Peak Heart & Vascular gives you all the details about how to prepare for your stress test in advance, so you know what to expect.
Typically, it's necessary to not eat or drink after a certain time before stress testing, and you might have to stay off caffeine and some medications that could interfere with the results of your test.
Some people would have difficulty raising their heart rate through exercise due to their poor health. If this applies to you, then your provider can give you medications that simulate the effect of exercise instead.
Stress testing begins with a member of the Peak Heart & Vascular team attaching electrodes to your body. These are sticky pads with wires in them, which relay the electrical signals from your heart to the ECG machine.
When you're ready, you begin walking or cycling under supervision, receiving instructions on how much effort to use. You gradually pick up speed until your heart reaches the target your provider set. Then you slow down again.
The electrodes stay in place until your heart gets back to a normal rate, to provide information about the way your heart works as it's recovering. Your provider then analyses the results before discussing them with you.
If you're experiencing heart-related symptoms that aren't identifiable on a resting ECG, stress testing is an effective way of isolating the problem. Find out more by calling Peak Heart & Vascular today or book an appointment online.