Types Of Cardiac Stress Tests

Submitted on March 27, 2012

There are various types of cardiac stress tests which are used to diagnose many serious heart conditions. There are in all four types of tests which involve the use of radioactive tracers. These radioactive traces, once injected into a person’s blood stream, can help technicians see blood vessels and muscles more clearly.

These tests can also help the doctors to decide the course of treatment and to determine whether it is better to continue with treatment or perform a surgery.

Types of Cardiac Stress Tests

Thallium Stress Test

The Thallium Stress Test is one such test in which thallium is used to show the flow of the blood through the vessels, into the heart. This stress test is useful because it can help monitor stress levels for patients who have had a heart attack. This test can also determine causes of various heart related symptoms like chest pain and shortness of breath. Sometimes, this test is administered post surgery to evaluate the effectiveness of the surgery. This test can also indicate how badly the coronary arteries are blocked.

For the test, the patient is asked to walk on a treadmill. As soon as the patient has reached the maximum level of exercise, thallium is injected into the blood stream. After this, gamma cameras are used to monitor the route that the radioactive blood takes to reach the heart.

Technetium Pyrophosphate Scan

The technetium pyrophosphate scan is another cardiac stress which uses radioactive tracers. However, this test is performed to confirm a heart attack. A radioactive substance known as the Tc-99m pyrophosphate is introduced to the blood stream 2-3 hours before the test begins. This tracer remains in the blood stream for a short period of time. The tracer is monitored using gamma cameras.

Wall Motion Tests

This test is used to check how well the heart is able to pump blood. The patient is connected to a monitor in this test and the technicians are able to monitor the functioning of the heart. A needle is inserted into the vein and two injections are administered through it. These injections contain radioactive substances which allow the technicians to monitor the flow of the blood through the four chambers of the heart.

Sestamibi Scan

This is another cardiac stress test that aims to find out the areas of the heart where blood is not able to reach. This scan is usually used to diagnose those with coronary artery disease. This test can also be used in order to check the efficiency of various drug therapies and a heart graft, if one has been made.