Why you might need a stress test?
-To determine if during high levels of activity your heart has adequate blood flow
-Conclude whether you may have coronary heart disease
-Evaluate how your heart medications are affecting you
-Identify abnormal heart rhythms
-Develop healthy exercise programs that fit your body and your need
What does an exercise stress test do?
Provides information on how your heart is responding to exertion. Usually, you are either riding on a stationary bike or you are walking on a treadmill. This exercise will monitor your blood pressure, the electrical activity of your heart and your actual heart rate.
Other Stress Test Options Include:
Nuclear Stress Test: During this test, a radioactive substance is injected into the body, which helps determine the areas of the heart that are healthy and function normal and which areas are not. Once the substance has been injected, a doctor will use a nuclear camera to find the rays that the substance has emitted into your body. These rays produce pictures of the heart tissue which enables the doctor to find the areas of the heart where the blood supply has decreased. This test is done while you are resting and while you are exercising.
Stress Echocardiogram: This test will capture the heart under stress by using a graphic outline of the hearts movement. This information is gathered by calculating the heart pumps and the motion of the hearts walls as it encounters stress.
Drug Stress Test: The use of drugs for a stress test is performed for the people who are unable to exercise. The drug causes the heart to respond as if the person was exercising. This way the heart can still be monitored and tested without actual excessive movement of the body. Lexiscan is a drug that is used for this sort of monitoring.
Lexiscan is a medication given through an IV in order to perform a cardiac nuclear stress test. This drug increases the blood flow in the coronary arteries which enables the doctor to be able take pictures of the blood flow into your heart. The doctor captures these images of the heart by using a special myocardial perfusion imaging camera which helps diagnose whether a patient has coronary artery disease. Lexiscan is given to patients who are unable to take physical stress tests because of certain medical conditions.
What a nuclear stress test is like with the use of Lexiscan:
You will most likely be lying down or sitting up in a chair, but you will be awake the whole time. During the test, your oxygen levels, heart rhythm and blood pressure will all be monitored. A tiny needle (catheter) will be placed in a vein on your arm. Through this small catheter the Lexiscan drug is injected and enters into your bloodstream. Blood flow to the heart is increased because Lexiscan dilates the coronary arteries. Immediately after Lexiscan is injected, a saline solution follows in order to clear the IV line. Once the line is clean, about 10-20 seconds later, a small dose of radioactive isotope imaging tracer material is then injected as well into the catheter. Once all of these injections have been absorbed into your bodys system, a camera will take specific pictures of your heart. These detailed images will show the blood flow to the heart and if there are any areas of blockage. The whole imaging process takes about 20-40 minutes while you are lying on your back with your arms above your head. Two sets of images will be taken. One set while Lexiscan active insdie your body and the other when you are considered fully at rest.
Safety Information to keep in mind:
- Avoid consuming caffeine at least 12 hours before your stress test
- Ensure that trained staff is available during your examination because Lexiscan can have dangerous side effects; Such as: heart attack, cardiac arrest, serious allergic reactions and abnormal heart rhythms.
- Lexiscan can make it hard to breath during and after the test. Make sure your doctor is aware if you have asthma or any respiratory diseases.
- Some people have experienced shortness of breath, minor headaches, abdominal pain, a metallic taste in the mouth, dizziness and chest pains after using Lexiscan. Most of which dissipate within the first 30 minutes once the test has been completed.
*Always share with your doctor ALL of your medical history. Its better to be too safe than sorry!