Stress Testing
Fairfax, VA

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What Is Stress Testing?

The heart is a complex organ and diagnosing heart conditions can be a challenging task.

The stress test, also known as the “exercise stress test” or “cardiac stress test,” is a simple process used by physicians to identify any irregularities of blood flow in your body by stress-inducing exercise.

At VeinGuard Center, we are premier cardiovascular specialists based out of Fairfax, VA. We use stress testing in Fairfax to diagnose hidden cardiovascular ailments and create custom treatments suited to your medical needs.

Reach out to us today to get started.

couple who had stress testing in fairfax, va

What a Stress Test Can Determine

When you are seated or not doing strenuous physical activity, your heart pumps blood at a slow and steady pace. But when you exercise, your body needs more oxygen to power your movement. To meet this increased oxygen requirement during exercise, your heart needs to work harder and faster when pumping blood. It is during this stressful situation that doctors will be able to examine:

  • If your arteries and veins are working in top condition or not
  • If your heartbeat is regular or irregular
  • If you experience symptoms of chest pain
  • If you have severe breathing issues
  • If your heart is struggling to pump blood

The exercise stress testing will allow our specialists at VeinGuard Center to identify conditions such as:

  • Arrhythmias – A condition where the electrical impulses to the heart are irregular, causing your heartbeat to become either too slow (bradycardia) or too fast (tachycardia).
  • Coronary artery disease – A condition where your arteries are blocked because of deposits of fat and cholesterol on the arterial walls.
  • Other heart conditions – Stress tests can also help diagnose other disorders such as heart valve disease, ischemic heart disease, and heart failure. Additionally, research by Cleveland Clinic shows that the stress test can help doctors find out how vulnerable patients are to fatal obstructive sleep apnea.

If you are currently undergoing any heart treatment, the stress test is also a great way for our physicians to understand how well you’re responding to the treatment. Through the exercise stress test, we will be able to monitor your progress and adjust as necessary to ensure a faster recovery.

doctor giving stress testing consult in fairfax, va

Your Consultation Before Treatment

You will be asked to come in for a comprehensive check-up a few days before the test. During the initial consult, you will be provided with a list of Do’s and Don’ts about the type of foods and beverages you can or cannot consume. You will also be advised when to stop smoking, drinking coffee, or consuming alcohol, so you’re ready for the stress test.

If you’re currently on any medication, please consult your physician about whether it’s okay to continue taking the medicine before and on the day of the stress test. Certain drugs can affect how your heart functions, skewing the results of your stress testing in Fairfax. Some medicines may make you feel faint, which can be dangerous when you’re undergoing the stress test.

If you have asthma or are diagnosed with a breathing condition, please let our VeinGuard Center doctors know. We will take the precautions necessary to ensure you have a safe experience. If you use an inhaler, we recommend you bring it.

Types of Tests

The stress test takes place at our VeinGuard Center in Fairfax, VA. Depending on what condition we’re diagnosed with, we will recommend one of three types of stress tests:

Exercise Stress Test

Here, electrodes are attached to your chest, arms, and legs. These electrodes are connected to an electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG machine) and they record your heart’s activity during the test. A BP cuff will be attached to your arm. You will be asked to either walk on a treadmill or ride a stationary bike, starting at a slow pace. This pace, along with any added resistance or weight, will be increased slowly until you reach the target heart rate our physicians have set for you.

If you experience any chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, or tiredness, we will stop the test immediately. Then, your heart will be monitored until it reaches its normal resting rate. Any abnormalities noticed in your EKG results will be noted and this information will be used to plan a bespoke treatment for you.

Nuclear Stress Test

A radioactive dye is injected into your arm through an IV. This dye allows our doctors to see your heart, arteries, and veins in greater clarity. We use a specially-designed camera to take pictures of your heart before the stress test. You with then be asked to perform the exercise stress test mentioned above. When you’re resting after the test, a new set of pictures are taken of your heart to identify any visual differences.

Stress Echocardiogram

If we wish to test you for any heart valve, murmur, or lining condition, then we will recommend the stress echocardiogram (ECHO). You will be asked to lie down on the examination table and electrodes will be attached to your chest. These electrodes will be connected to an EKG machine. Next, a gel will be applied to your chest region using a device called a transducer. This transducer emits sound waves that create an image of your heart’s activity on the EKG.

This is done before the stress test. You will then be asked to complete the exercise stress test mentioned above and the stress ECHO will be repeated to check post-test heart activity.

FAQs

What if I can’t exercise?

Sometimes, age, injury, or a medical condition can prevent us from exercising during the stress test. But there’s no need to worry. Our doctors at VeinGuard Center will determine if you should be administered a specially-formulated medicine that mimics the effect of exercise and makes your heart pump faster. Then, you will be subjected to the nuclear or stress ECHO test, depending on your unique needs.

What do I wear for my testing?

It’s best to wear comfortable clothes (preferably gym or exercise clothes) and sports shoes for the test. Don’t apply any oils, creams, cosmetics, etc., on the day of the treatment, as it may have an adverse effect with any medicine or chemical we use for the nuclear stress test.

How long does the stress test take?

The stress test can take between 40 – 60 minutes to complete. You can return to your normal routine after the test unless our specialist tells you otherwise.

Our experts at VeinGuard Center will collate the findings of the test and identify the exact issue that is affecting you. We will then call you in for another consult, where we will discuss your results and possible treatments.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us for more information about stress testing in Fairfax, VA.

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