Stress testing is the one diagnostic tool available that shows how well your heart pumps blood when you’re active. At Central Valley Cardiovascular Center, Ranjit Rajpal, MD, FACP, FACC, performs several types of stress tests in the comfort of the office. Dr. Rajpal stays in the room during your test, so you can depend on him to monitor your health and ensure you stay safe as he evaluates your heart. To learn more about stress testing or schedule a heart evaluation, call the office in Madera, California, or use the online booking feature today.

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What is a stress test?

A stress test shows how well your heart functions when physical activity forces it to work harder and pump more blood out to your body. The electrical activity that occurs when you exercise gives Dr. Rajpal essential information about your heart’s health.

When might I need a stress test?

Dr. Rajpal may recommend a stress test to determine the cause of symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, or heart palpitations.

The heart conditions often diagnosed following a stress test include:

  • Heart failure
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Heart arrhythmias
  • Heart valve disease
  • Cardiomyopathy

A stress test can also show if you’re ready to start exercising again after a heart attack.

What happens during an exercise stress test?

During an exercise stress test at Central Valley Cardiovascular Center, you walk on a treadmill to boost your heart rate. Before beginning the test, your provider places electrodes on your body and connects them to the EKG machine. They also place a blood pressure cuff around your arm.

Your test begins with the treadmill set to a slow, comfortable speed. Then your provider increases the speed and elevation of the treadmill every three minutes. The test continues until you reach your peak heart rate or you develop symptoms such as chest pain and need to stop.

Patients who can’t tolerate exercise can still get a stress test. Dr. Rajpal mimics exercise using medication to boost your heart rate.

Dr. Rajpal is in the room throughout your stress test, carefully watching your EKG, blood pressure, and symptoms. He also gives you the results at the end of the test.

What other type of stress test might I receive?

Dr. Rajpal often performs two other types of stress tests:

Stress echocardiogram (stress echo)

Before you start your stress test, Dr. Rajpal takes a Doppler echocardiogram, which creates images of your heart using ultrasound. The Doppler technique shows the heart’s structures, as well as blood flowing through the blood vessels and muscle and valve movement.

After your stress test, you have another echocardiogram. Dr. Rajpal compares the before and after images to see the changes caused by exercise.

Nuclear stress test

A nuclear stress test also involves taking images of your heart before and after your stress test, but it’s a different type of image. Dr. Rajpal injects a small dose of radioactive medication and takes images using a specialized camera.

The camera picks up the energy released by the radioactive tracers. The resulting image shows the blood flow in the heart’s muscles.

If you need to schedule a stress test, call Central Valley Cardiovascular Center, or book an appointment online today.