The purpose of a cardiac stress test is to show how your heart works during physical activity. Exercise makes your heart pump harder and faster, and when you exercise during a stress test, blood flow problems within your heart can be detected.
How long does a cardiac stress test take?
The test takes about one hour, including prep time and actual test time. The cardiac stress test itself only lasts around 15 minutes. During your test, you may walk on a treadmill or pedal a stationary bicycle. If you cannot exercise, you’ll receive a drug through an IV that mimics exercise by increasing blood flow to your heart.
Why a stress test is done
Your doctor may order a stress test to:
- Diagnose coronary artery disease– This disease develops when the coronary arteries (the major blood vessels that supply your heart with blood, oxygen and nutrients) become damaged or diseased; usually due to a buildup of plaque or cholesterol deposits.
- Detect heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias) – Arrhythmias occur when the electrical impulses that coordinate your heart rhythm malfunction. This causes your heart to beat too fast, too slowly or irregularly.
- Inform treatment of heart disorders – If you’ve been diagnosed with a heart condition, a cardiac stress test can show your doctor how well treatment is working. He or she may also use test results to develop your treatment plan by gauging how much exercise your heart can handle.
- Determine the timing and type of cardiac surgery – For procedures such as valve replacement and for some people with heart failure, stress test results may help the doctor determine whether a heart transplant is needed or if other advanced therapies will be more effective.
Hassle-free cardiac stress tests and you-first healthcare are close to home
Whether you need a cardiac stress test in Framingham or other advanced diagnostics, Charles River Medical Associates is ready to help, when and where you need us. In 15 locations across nine Metrowest communities, we continually strive to practice exceptional healthcare for your entire family. And we do so with a dedication to respecting your time and earning your trust each time we see you. From general care to specialized medicine, come experience a refreshing take on healthcare.
To learn more or schedule an appointment, give us a call at 508-848-2190 or click here to use our online form.