What risks are involved with cardiac stress test

April 7, 2010

A cardiac stress test is very important as it helps to find out the extent to which the heart is able to take a physical activity. It also enables to know the rate at which blood is flowing to the heart. The test becomes even more important to detect any heart problems because there is a possibility that heart problems are difficult to detect with a physical examination or even an ECG when your body is at rest. This is because there maybe no signs and symptoms shown by the person when the body is not involved in any rigorous physical activity but at rest. The test is generally conducted on a treadmill where you will be asked to walk on the same or asked to cycle on a stationary bicycle. Wires are attached to your chest that is connected to the ECG machine and the blood pressure cuff may also be put around your arm. The level of activity is kept increasing every 3 minutes where the ECG readings and blood pressure are recorded constantly.

Incase you have abnormal ECG readings you will not be asked to take the test on a treadmill but will be given a medication into the vein that stimulates exercise and the recordings are taken accordingly. You may be asked not to eat a few hours before the test; however, you need to drink a lot of water to stay hydrated and you may also be asked to refrain from smoking. If you are on medication, inform the doctor on the type of medication that you are taking. If you are a person who is suffering from asthma, take your inhalers and other medications along with you.

The level of risk associated with a cardiac stress test is very low and some of the side effects include palpitation, pain in the chest, headache, a feeling of nausea, shortness of breath and fatigue. A very low blood pressure after the test is not a good sign and could be an indication of a serious coronary disease. There is a rare possibility of a heart attack in the course of the test but as said, this is a very rare case. Besides, there a number of doctors with you at the time so immediate treatment can be provided instantly if something goes wrong. After the test, your doctor will ask you to walk around a little bit or lie down for a while

Submitted by M T on April 7, 2010 at 11:02

Read more questions in Stress Test