Chemical Stress Test

Submitted by Nic on October 19, 2012

Heart problems, valve dysfunction, and arterial blocks are diagnosed through stress tests. A stress test is conducted to ensure optimum blood flow to the heart during rest and physical activity. The stress test is conducted after the patient exercises on a stationary cycle or treadmill. If for some reason the patient is unable to exercise, a chemical is introduced through a vein during a chemical stress test. This accelerates the heart rate and makes the heart function as though under stress. Doctors may call for the following heart stress tests: MRI, echocardiogram, and nuclear imaging. In a nuclear stress test, radioisotopes are introduced into the patient. Doctors can then study images taken of the heart during rest and stress.

Several types of chemical stress tests for the heart are recommended. The chemical stress test procedures are as follows:

  • "Nuclear medicineand myocardial perfusions" scans known as PET scan-positron emission tomography
  • Drugs to regulate heart rate and blood flow. Once the drug is injected, doctors can study images that will show any arterial blocks as the blood flows through the heart.
  • Dobutamine stress test is used for those who cannot undergo physical stress test. The chemical produces the same effect on the heart rate as physical exercise, and heart function can be diagnosed with echocardiography.

There are chemicals available in the market today that produce lesser side effects as compared to certain drugs used in the past.

Chemical stress test side effects: Some patients may be intolerant to adenosine stress tests. They may experience hot flushes, shortness of breath, and pressure in their chest. Sharp fall in blood pressure, heart rate and cardiac arrest, and respiratory problems are of concern. Adenosine should not be administered to people with chronic or genetic lung disorders. The chemical stress test side effects should be taken care of by the medical practitioner present.

Chemical stress test dangers: According to clinical studies, a patient having or succumbing to a heart attack while undergoing a stress test is one out of 5000 and thus there are no major chemical stress test dangers. The heart rate may become abnormal (arrhythmia), but the heart beat returns to normal after some rest. In dire cases, further treatment may be necessary to steady the patient"s heart rate. A person"s blood pressure may drop during the chemical stress test, leading to giddiness. The patient will feel fine once the heart resumes its normal rate.

Chemical stress test CPT code: CPT codes are used in clinics to standardize medical procedures and tests with specific codes or serial numbers to make billing and reimbursements easier and systematic. Different types of stress tests have varying CPT codes. One should check with their doctor for the chemical stress test CPT code.

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