The heart is the primary pacemaker for the functioning of the entire organism, its proper functioning being fundamental for our survival and quality of life. Monitoring and taking care of your health is essential for anyone who wants to cultivate a long life and thoroughly enjoy any activity.
One of the most comprehensive tests to determine how well this organ is working is the stress test, with which damage and a wide variety of diseases can be found or predicted. If you continue reading the following FastlyHealarticle, you will be able to find out what the stress test in cardiology consists of, its purposes, and the procedure to perform it.
What is a cardiac stress test?
The cardiac stress test or ergometry is a medical evaluation that aims to evaluate the performance of the heart, both at rest and during an activity that requires physical effort, contrasting both situations and managing to measure the maximum degree of action that the patient should make if you want to avoid cardiovascular accidents or any other cardiac and cardiorespiratory symptoms or symptoms.
What can be diagnosed in a cardiac stress test?
Because it is a complete exam (it takes up to an hour), it is possible to evaluate a great variety of characteristics of cardiac functioning and detect anomalies or coronary artery diseases and their severity. The potential primary diagnoses are:
- Aortic stenosis .
- Unnoticeable arrhythmias at rest.
- Ischemic heart disease: angina pectoris and risks of myocardial infarction.
- Heart failure.
- Arterial hypertension.
- Congenital heart disease and its severity.
In addition, the cardiac stress test is frequented by high-performance athletes who wish to assess their maximum safe effort potential or by those who have already had a cardiac or cardiorespiratory accident and need to monitor the progress of recovery after said event. It is used to observe the effect of medications on the heart.
How is the procedure of a cardiac stress test
Although it takes at least an hour, this test is remarkably straightforward for the patient. In preparation for it, the person who will be evaluated must follow the following primary indications:
- Do not consume caffeinated products for at least 4 hours before the test. Remove coffee, teas, cocoa derivatives, and soft drinks.
- Do not smoke or consume alcohol for the same amount of time.
- I am not having eaten or drunk for at least 3 hours and avoiding sweets since blood sugar can affect performance.
- Make it at least 45 minutes before the test if you drink water.
- Avoid prolonged fasts unless your doctor tells you to.
- Do not do high-impact or inappropriate exercise from the night before.
- Avoid taking pain relievers, tranquilizers, or any other medicine unless your doctor allows it.
- Wear comfortable shoes and sportswear that can be easily removed.
In the beginning, the doctor will evaluate the heart function even at rest, whether lying down, sitting, or standing. Among the equipment to be used from this stage is the electrocardiograph, which consists of placing several electrodes around the rib cage. Electrocardiographic monitoring will be maintained throughout the test, both during exercise and rest. Blood pressure evaluations will also be carried out periodically or constantly (also depending on the available technology).
For the stress test, various exercise and difficulty protocols can be followed, placing the patient to jog on a treadmill (treadmill) or stationary bike. The usual thing is to increase the difficulty (resistance) every 3 minutes, with this stress test phase having an average maximum duration of 12 to 15 minutes of exercise or until signs are evident in the patient that warrants stopping or pausing the evaluation. Depending on the programmed protocol, one or more rest breaks will be added or not.
Among the leading indicators that warrant the suspension of the exercise before the completion of the protocol, we find:
- Pain or tightness in the chest.
- Cardiac and respiratory arrhythmias.
- Sudden or unwanted changes in blood pressure.
- Dizziness, nausea
- Intestinal discomfort
- Anemia or pallor.
- Cold sweat.
- A lack of sufficient oxygen supply to the heart is detected by the electrocardiogram.
- Target maximum heart rate range.
Once the stress test is completed, the final monitoring is carried out (waiting for a few minutes of rest), and the patient is suggested in most cases not to perform the intense physical exercise for the rest of the day.
This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.
If you want to read more articles similar to What is the stress test in cardiology? We recommend that you enter our category of Blood, heart and circulation .
I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.