A stress test and nuclear stress test are generally considered safe. However, in rare cases, they may have negative consequences. These include a heart attack or abnormal heart rhythms that persist after the test. According to statistics, this occurs in about one out of every 10,000 cases. If your vital signs are checked after a Tomball stress testing, there should be no adverse symptoms or lingering side effects. When you are not used to working out or living a sedentary lifestyle, you may feel exhausted or have muscle or joint pain for a day or two after the examination.

Understanding stress testing

A stress test (exercise stress test) shows how your heart works while you are exercising. This stress test can reveal problems with blood flow within your heart because exercise causes your heart to pump harder and faster. A stress test typically consists of walking on a treadmill or riding a stationary bike while your heart, blood pressure, and breathing rates are monitored. Alternatively, you will be given a drug that mimics the effects of exercise.

Benefits of stress tests

Your specialist may recommend a stress test to:

  1. Detect coronary artery disease – Coronary artery disease occurs when these arteries become damaged or infected, most commonly due to a buildup of residues having cholesterol and other substances (plaques).
  2. Detect irregular heartbeats (arrhythmias) – Arrhythmias of the heart occurs when the electrical signals that coordinate your heartbeat do not function properly. An arrhythmia is an illness in which your heart beats too quickly, too slowly, or inconsistently.
  3. Assist in treating heart conditions – If you already have a heart condition, an exercise stress test can help your specialist determine whether your current treatment is effective. The test results also assist your doctor in choosing the best treatment for you.
  4. To inspect your heart before surgery – Your doctor may use a stress test to determine when you can safely undergo surgery, such as valve replacement or a heart transplant.

What to expect

Your specialist may suggest you avoid prescription medications and coffee, tea, or other caffeine-containing beverages on the day of your test, as these may affect your results. They will also instruct you to wear comfortable clothing and shoes for the test. First, your doctor will take your heart rate and blood pressure. Then, during the stress test, your specialist will apply sticky electrode patches to your chest, a blood pressure wristband to your arm, and a pulse monitor to your finger.

After the stress test

Your doctor will inspect your heart rate and blood pressure to ensure that both are back within normal limits. If you had a radioactive dye test, your doctor might advise you to keep hydrated to flush it out of your system. If your stress test results show that your heart is healthy, you may not require additional testing or treatment. If the stress test results reveal that you may have a heart condition or experience symptoms like chest pain, your doctor may request additional screening procedures or imaging tests.

A stress test can provide information about a person’s heart health and help guide recommendations for exercise and other types of therapy. If you have any questions about stress testing, call Northwest Houston Heart Center or schedule an appointment online.