It is usually performed to investigate cardiac symptoms such as chest discomfort or shortness of breath. It can also show if any parts of the heart muscle are not receiving enough oxygen-rich blood, which could indicate a narrowing or blockage of one or more coronary arteries. It is also occasionally performed for other reasons such as to assess heart muscle problems (cardiomyopathies), valve disease or heart rhythm disturbances.
Initially, ECG electrodes (sticky dots) with leads are attached across your chest to monitor your heart rhythm throughout the test. A blood pressure cuff is applied to your upper arm to monitor your blood pressure at regular intervals throughout the test. The test itself takes between 30 and 45 minutes to complete and is divided into three parts:
A stress test with monitoring is the safest environment to push yourself physically as you are closely monitored under the supervision of Dr Nasis. A common misconception is that you need to be fit or be able to run to undertake this test – this is not the case as the test is modified to obtain the necessary information at each individual’s capacity. This usually involves a maximum of walking quickly uphill with most people lasting on the treadmill between 5 and 15 minutes.
After the test, Dr Nasis will analyse all of the imaging, electrical, clinical and haemodynamic data to synthesise a report for your doctor. He will also discuss the results with you at the time and if necessary, will ring your referring doctor to discuss any urgent results and suggest any additional follow-up that is required.