What is a heart stress test?

August 12, 2011

It is extremely important to maintain the basic health of the heart. The functioning of the heart is one of the most basic requirements for an individual to be alive. Most people with heart trouble suffer from gradually deteriorating cardiac health. A test or scan that confirms this deterioration can be used to ensure that the problem is sorted out using some sort of medical intervention. Therefore one may question, “What is a heart stress test?” The heart, at rest, beats slowly and comfortably without much strain. At this level, it is often impossible to notice any abnormality. For this reason, the heart needs to be stressed so that any defects can be noticed in subsequent scans conducted while the heart is still racing.

A heart stress test is a test used to strain the heart and subsequently scan it for abnormalities. The heart stress test procedure involves the individual exercising in a controlled environment. In this environment the individual is made to run on a treadmill in order to stimulate the increased flow of blood through the heart. During the heart stress test procedure, the doctor will gradually increase the speed of the treadmill, thus increasing the effort required. The heart will be continuously monitored using various electrodes and scans. Emergency medical equipment will also be present in case the individual suffers from a sudden cardiac event as a result of the exertion although this is highly unlikely.

The heart stress test results can be used to show how efficiently the heart is functioning. These results are often subject to interpretation. Therefore, with modern practices, the heart test and subsequent scans are often saved on a computer so that they can be viewed again by a team of experts. This is especially useful when there is some doubt as to the state of the heart and any abnormality that has been detected. The heart stress test cost depends on the location of the individual and the extent of the test. One may have a basic heart stress test or a more complicated nuclear medicine heart stress test which involves the use of a tracer material and subsequent high resolution scanning. The heart stress test is a fairly routine procedure in modern medicine. It is recommended that all people undergo such scanning once they have crossed the age of 40. This is because any abnormality can be detected early and sorted out before it triggers some serious and potentially life threatening cardiac event.

Submitted by N on August 12, 2011 at 11:06

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