Stress tests

​Cardiac stress ECG

Cardiac stress test with an ECG is performed, when coronary artery disease is suspected or when the behaviour of some arrhythmias or the function of the lungs is investigated. During the examination, the heart is put under stress so that the possibly constricted coronary arteries cause deprivation of oxygen in the heart muscle. The examination is always performed in a controlled environment with a physician present.

Initially, an electrocardiogram is taken when the patient is resting. Subsequently, the actual cardiac stress test with an ECG is performed by having the patient exercising on a stationary bicycle, i.e. a stress ergometer. If the patient is not able to pedal the bicycle, for example due to a joint disease, alternatively a treadmill or an arm ergometer can be used. The level of stress is gradually increased during the test, and simultaneously the patient's ECG and blood pressure are monitored. If the patient experiences chest pains or the ECG reveals abnormalities, the test is discontinued.

The examination lasts for about an hour, and the results of the test are recorded for later diagnosis.

Cardiopulmonary exercise testing (CPET)

The examination is particularly used to investigate shortness of breath on exertion, a hyperventilation syndrome and indefinite sensations on the chest, and to assess the patient's physical fitness, for example preoperatively.

During the test, the patient exercises on a stationary bicycle, i.e. a stress ergometer. A mask is inserted on the patient's face in order to measure the expiratory flow and to analyse the oxygen and carbon dioxide content. The patient's ECG and blood pressure are also monitored during the examination. The examination is always performed in a controlled environment with a physician present.

If the patient is not able to pedal the bicycle, for example due to a joint disease, alternatively a treadmill or an arm ergometer can be used.

The examination takes about 1.5 hours.

Stress monitoring of the circulation of the arteries of the lower extremities, i.e. stress ankle-brachial index ABI

Blood pressure monitoring cuffs are attached on the patient's arms and ankles, and sensors are attached to the fingers and toes. Blood pressure is measured simultaneously from all limbs. The measurements are repeated at least three times. Blood pressure is also measured from both big toes. An ECG is also recorded.
Subsequently, the patient undergoes a stress test on a treadmill. During the exercise, the patient assesses the location and the intensity of any possible pain. The examination is always performed in a controlled environment, and a physician is present during the stress test. After the stress test, the blood pressure levels are re-measured from the limbs and an ECG is performed.

The examination takes over an hour.

Cardiac stress ultrasound

The ultrasound examination is performed at rest and also during and after physical stress.

The stress portion of the test is performed on a bicycle ergometer. A physician examines the heart with an ultrasound scan and identifies the cardiac cavities and their wall motion, as well as valve structures and their function.

The examination takes about 1.5 hours.
 

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