If a patient has experienced chest pain or other possible signs of cardiovascular disease, Dr. Diego may administer an EKG with stress test. This is a common diagnostic procedure whereby the heart is forced to work harder so that the doctor can monitor its rhythm and strength. Also known as a treadmill test, this tool is designed to portray whether the heart is receiving sufficient blood and oxygen during exercise, or ‘stress’.
An EKG with stress tests are among the best tools for diagnosing heart disease, or in analyzing risk in patients who don’t have symptoms but have risk factors such as high cholesterol. Patients who are over the age of 40 and smoke or have high blood pressure may be asked to take an EKG with stress test, even if they have not had chest pains.
Patients who come to our clinic for EKG with stress test are asked to wear comfortable and loose-fitted clothing. Avoid eating a big meal before arriving for your stress test, as this could make exercise uncomfortable.
If for some reason you are not able to walk on a treadmill, the doctor should be told this. Also let the staff know if you are diabetic. Since exercise affects blood sugar, the staff may want to check glucose levels before the test begins. It’s also important to let Dr. Diego know if you have experienced any chest pains or discomfort lately.
During the test, your blood pressure and heart rate, as well as the heart’s electrical pattern, will be monitored while you walk on a treadmill. If you feel chest pain, shortness of breath, leg pain, or weakness while walking on the treadmill, you should tell the staff member who is performing the test.
Chest pain while walking on a treadmill or pedaling an exercise bicycle is a strong indicator of coronary artery disease– especially if an EKG at the same time indicates a restriction in blood flow to the heart. If the patient has chest pain but the EKG is normal, more tests need to be done.