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What is Involved in Stress Testing?

The most common kind of cardiac stress testing uses a treadmill to help determine how well your heart performs. You’ll walk on a treadmill with sticky pads, called electrodes, connecting your chest, arms, and shoulders to an electrocardiograph (EKG) monitor, which measures your heart’s electrical activity. The treadmill will be tilted slightly so you feel like you’re walking uphill, and the speed may be increased to make your heart beat faster.

Are there Different Kinds of Stress Testing?

Yes. With any diagnostic test, there are varying degrees of testing. There are basic stress tests, intermediate stress testing with echocardiography, and then there are nuclear stress tests.

  • ETT (Exercise Treadmill Test): walking on treadmill and changing speed and slope depending on a standard Bruce protocol 

  • Stress Echocardiogram (Stress Echo): ETT with echocardiogram images

  • Pharmacological Stress Test: Mediation is used in place of the treadmill for patients who are not able to walk on a treadmill

  • Nuclear Stress Test: ETT, then imaging under a gamma camera with a radioactive isotope

Why Stress Testing is Done?

Stress tests are basic diagnostic tools for many different conditions and diagnoses. It is used to rule out somethings and diagnose others. Some of the conditions that stress tests help diagnose are:

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