Cardiac Stress Test

08 Jun 2010
Posted by padma

Heart supplies oxygen to all parts of the body and any defects in the heart affects the normal functioning of the whole body.  Hence, monitoring the efficiency of the heart is often done on a regular basis.The physician can get a very good idea about the functioning of heart when it is subjected to physical stress and there are many tests available, of which a stress test is done to find heart related irregularities that are commonly accompanied with the Coronary heart disease (CHD), which is otherwise called as coronary artery disease.

CHD is the blockage that occurs in the arteries which provide oxygenated blood to the heart. These blockages reduce the gap between the arteries and this reduces the blood flow to the heart resulting in acute chest pain.A stress test helps us to find the maximum amount of stress one’s heart can endure before showing abnormalities or malfunctioning.

The heart is made to beat faster by making the patient  run on a tread mill or pedal a stationed bicycle, where a detailed study about heart rhythm, heart-beat, etc., can be monitored during that time. The stress tests are conducted not only for Coronary Heart Disease, but also to determine the reasons for heart failure and valve related diseases.


There are different types of stress tests available which includes treadmill test, adenosine Stress Test, stress echocardiogram, nuclear stress test, etc. Treadmill test is done for people who can run or walk for a considerable time on the treadmill. A normal ECG will monitor the patient as long as he can walk on the treadmill. If there is any pain in the chest from mild to severe while walking, it suggests that the blood flow is insufficient to heart. This test outlines the changes in the electrical impulse of the heart.

Adenosine Stress Test is done for patients who cannot run or walk on the treadmill due to age or injuries. In that case, drugs are given to the patient that makes the heart to work hard, and thereby activities of the heart can be monitored.

Stress echocardiogram is mostly done with dobutamine echo can show less contractility of certain regions of herat where coronrary perfusiondue to chd is limited and this method is usualy done to predict the graphic outline of the heart. This test is also called as an echo which exactly visualizes the movement of valves, chambers, and its pumping action when the heart is made to work.

Nuclear stress test helps to find the functioning and malfunctioning of the parts of a heart. The procedure starts with injecting a prescribed amount of radioactive in the safe range, and a special camera is employed to capture the rays emitted by the radioactive substance. The malfunctioning parts of a heart will have more than the normal amount of thallium,the radioactive material, which shows that blood flow, is considerably less in those areas.