In order to know your risk level for heart disease, we perform tests that tell us how resilient your heart is when managing stress. There are a few different ways in which we test your heart’s ability to manage stress, before developing a condition (such as abnormal rhythm or ischemia) that could lead to more dangerous consequences.
- A treadmill stress test is normally the first stress test we perform if your electrocardiogram is normal. We monitor you while walking to see if you develop chest pain or changes in your heart rate or blood pressure that might suggest a low blood flow to your heart.
- If you are unable to exercise or walk, a pharmacologic (medicine) test is used to make your heart respond as if you were exercising. This is done through a drug that our cardiologists give to you that makes your heart respond as though you are exercising.
- A stress echocardiogram is done to find any possible decrease in blood flow to your heart (a condition known as ischemia). Using ultrasound technology, we monitor your heart’s response to either treadmill testing or dobutamine/adenosine testing both before and after your heart rate is increased.