Doctors use a stress test to get information about how your heart works during physical activity. Test results can help your doctor diagnose the cause of chest pain, determine the severity of coronary artery disease and evaluate heart rhythm problems. It can also be used to guide treatment if you’ve already been diagnosed with a heart condition. Your doctor may also order the test if you are going to start an exercise program and you have heart disease or certain risk factors such as diabetes.
Stress testing is provided locally through GMHC Cardio-Pulmonary Services. A physician is present throughout the test to monitor your heart rhythm. In most cases, the test is performed on a treadmill.An injection of medication can be used to stress your heart if you are unable to exercise adequately. Your doctor may also order nuclear imaging before and after your heart has been stressed. The images can show areas of low blood flow through the heart and damaged heart muscle.