Cardiac Stress Test Procedure

A cardiac stress test procedure evaluates the discrepancy in the blood flow to the hear’s left ventricular muscle tissue while at rest to the blood flow when stressed.

Use of the cardiac stress test procedure helps to  determine whether there if there is an underlying heart problem or disease. Many times, a heart problem will only becomes apparent when the heart is stressed by exercise. If the test procedure does show damage to the heart, it also provides the doctor with enough information to extrapolate just how severe any underlying heart disease might be.

If the test procedure comes up normal, this means that the heart is capable of relaxing and contracting with enough flexibility and force to provide blood to the aorta and other major arteries. The cardiac stress test procedure is performed on the heart’s left ventricular muscle tissue because it is the one that does most of the work in pumping blood from the heart to the rest of the body.

You can perform a cardiac stress test at home using one of the cardiac home kits produced by a couple of manufacturers. But, it would be a mistake to rely on it’s test results as well as your ability to interpret the test results as cardiac stress tests are normally performed by a certified cardiac technician.

Developed in 1929, the cardiac stress test procedure has been used as a way of determining the overall health of a person’s vascular system. The patient first is attached to an ECG machine. Then a blood pressure cuff is placed on one of their arms, and sometimes a sensor is also used, which is attached to the finger and which measures the amount of oxygen in the blood. Once a baseline ECG is obtained, then the patient will be instructed to begin performing a low level of exercise.

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Although any exercise equipment which elevates the heart rate can be used, the stress test is usually performed on a treadmill or a stationary bike. The attending physician will decide the particular form of the exercise depending on a variety of factors. Once the patient begins this exercise it starts being graded, meaning that the level of exercise is progressively increased and as it is, the pulse, blood pressure, and ECG of the patient are recorded in correlation.

There are quite a few reasons as to why a cardiac stress test would be a recommendation or even requirement for a person, but it is most often done for the following reasons: to evaluate if complaints of chest pain are related to the heart, to determine if blockages exist in a coronary artery or arteries, to identify an irregular heart rhythm that only occurs during activity, to monitor the heart’s response to cardiac treatment or a procedure to open a coronary artery, to determine a safe level of participation before the start of an exercise regimen, and to plan the place and intensity of rehabilitation after a heart attack.

What should it cost for a cardiac stress test? The price varies wildly. You can expect to pay anywhere from $100 up to $1300. If you have good insurance, your insurance carrier will normally pick up most of the cost.

You might think that you’re too young to have heart trouble. But if your family has a history of heart problems or if you lead an unhealthy life style, a cardiac stress test procedure may be the best way to get an early warning sign of potential problems.