What Should You Expect from Your Stress Testing Appointment?

Stress testing is a technique that heart specialists use to check the way your heart functions. You should expect your specialist to look at your arteries, heart muscles, and heart rhythm during Tomball stress testing. The procedure takes about an hour so that your healthcare provider can provide the most accurate results.

The procedure helps to diagnose the following:

  • Coronary artery disease
  • Heart valve disease
  • Heart failure
  • Heart arrhythmias
  • Cardiomyopathy

Types of stress testing

During the procedure, your specialist can combine different types of stress testing to give you the most accurate diagnosis. The following are types of stress testing that they might use during your appointment:

Exercise stress testing

During the appointment, your specialist will put electrodes on your chest and connect them to an EKG machine to monitor your heart. Then, you will either walk on a treadmill or ride a stationary bike so that the exercise can increase your heart rate.

The exercise will start at a slower speed, and your provider will gradually increase the intensity at regular intervals. They will keep increasing the pace until you show any signs or symptoms of heart issues or breathing difficulty.  

If you cannot perform physical exercise due to an injury or a certain illness, your doctor might recommend a medicine that raises your heartbeat.

Cardiac PET scan

A cardiac PET scan uses advanced imaging techniques to provide pictures of your heart. During the procedure, your specialist will inject a radioactive substance called a radiotracer into your bloodstream. The tracers from the substance attach to your blood cells and travel to your heart.

The images from a PET scan can reveal the following about your heart:

  • Damaged muscles
  • Scarred heart tissue
  • Areas that don’t get enough blood
  • Blocked arteries
  • Risk of having a heart attack

Nuclear stress testing

A nuclear stress test combines a cardiac PET scan with your exercise stress test. The procedure involves two scans; the first is immediately after your exercise stress, and the second is when your heart is at rest after the stress test.

After the procedure, your specialist will compare the two images to get an accurate picture of your heart’s functioning.

Who is the right candidate for the procedure?

The right candidate for stress testing is the one that exhibits the symptoms of heart problems like dizziness, shortness of breath, chest pain, and fatigue. You can also qualify for a stress test if you are at risk of heart problems or have certain health conditions like diabetes and high cholesterol levels.

If you come from a family with a history of heart disease, your specialist might recommend regular stress testing to check your heart’s health. In addition, the procedure is important to evaluate treatment progression if you receive treatment for an ongoing heart problem.

If you are due for heart surgery or exhibit symptoms that might indicate a heart problem, visit Northwest Houston Heart Center for stress testing. The qualified cardiologists will review your medical history before subjecting your heart to a stress test. Call or schedule your appointment online to improve your cardiovascular health.