A Stress Test is a non-invasive test that helps the physician determine how your heart responds to stress.
Exercise Stress Test
Also called a treadmill test, stress test, exercise electrocardiogram, graded exercise test, this test provides information about how well your heart works during exercise or exertion. It usually involves walking on a treadmill or pedaling a stationary bike at increasing levels of difficulty while the heart rate, heart rhythm and blood pressure are monitored. The test may be ordered to determine if there is adequate blood flow to your heart during increasing levels of activity, the likelihood of heart disease being present, or the need for future testing.
Nuclear Stress Test
A nuclear stress test provides information about your heart's ability to deal with the increased need for blood and oxygen that occurs during exercise. The test can determine if there is adequate blood flow to the heart muscle during activity (treadmill exercise) versus rest. During the test, a small amount of a radioactive tracer is injected into a vein. A special camera, called a gamma camera, detects the radiation and produces images of the heart. Areas of your heart that do not absorb the tracer may not be getting enough blood. In these cases, further testing may be necessary. A stress test with nuclear imaging takes two to three hours. Be sure to wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothes and good walking shoes or sneakers for the exercise portion of the test.
Pharmacologic Stress Testing
If you are unable to exercise on a treadmill, you may have a non-exercise stress test. In this test, medication is administered through an intravenous catheter (IV). The medication creates changes in your heart similar to what happens when you exercise. A small amount of radioactive tracer is injected into a vein. A special camera, called a gamma camera, detects the radiation and produces images of the heart. Areas of your heart that do not absorb the tracer may not be getting enough blood. In these cases, further testing may be necessary. A stress test with nuclear imaging takes two to three hours.
A Stress Echocardiogram is a diagnostic tool made up of two components; a stress test and an echocardiogram. During the stress test component of the test, you will be walking on a treadmill. The treadmill will increase in speed and elevation at predetermined times. During the echocardiogram portion of the test, you will be lying on a stretcher while ultrasound images of your heart are recorded.
Prior to walking on the treadmill, the Echocardiogram Technologist will obtain resting EKGs, blood pressures and echocardiogram images. When the Cardiologist arrives in the Echo Lab, you will be asked to walk on the treadmill starting at a slow speed with a small incline. You must be able to walk on the treadmill long enough to increase your heart rate considerably. Your progress will be monitored with additional EKGs and blood pressures as you walk on the treadmill and increase your heart rate. At your peak heart rate, we will obtain an EKG and more echocardiogram images. There is only a 15 second window to obtain the high heart rate echocardiogram images because your heart rate starts to drop immediately. Therefore, we ask you to please adjust to the treadmill stopping and move quickly to the stretcher. You may be asked to hold your breath on inhalation or exhalation when your echocardiogram images are obtained.
Please wear comfortable walking shoes and a two piece outfit because you will be asked to wear a hospital gown during the test. No caffeine or nicotine 12 hours prior to the start of the test.
Please call 610-738-2771 to schedule a test.
LOCATION and CONTACT INFORMATION
Chester County Hospital
Echocardiogram Lab, 2nd Floor
701 East Marshall Street
West Chester, PA 19380
Hours: Monday-Friday, 8 am-4:30 pm