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Stress Testing Specialist

Cardiovascular Care Center

Shahrzad Shareghi, MD

Interventional Cardiologist located in Simi Valley, CA

At Cardiovascular Care Center, stress testing is a powerful diagnostic tool that helps Dr. Shahrzad Shareghi better understand how your heart is functioning. Men and women around Simi Valley, California turn to Dr. Shareghi for comprehensive cardiovascular care. Her personable nature and unparalleled skill set are just part of why she’s so highly sought after. If you’re ready to learn more about your heart health, schedule an appointment for stress testing today. Online scheduling is available, or you can simply call the office.

Stress Testing

What is stress testing?

Stress testing is a process that offers insight into how your heart is functioning. The process takes place while you are exercising, and it provides information about your heart muscle’s performance under stress.

Stress testing is used as a diagnostic tool for coronary heart disease. The condition occurs when plaque builds up in your arteries, narrowing them and increasing your risk of a heart attack. Men and women with coronary heart disease often show no symptoms, which is why stress testing is so important.

What happens during stress testing?

Preparation for the test begins as electrodes are positioned on your arms, legs, and chest. The electrodes have an adhesive so they stay on your skin.

The electrodes are connected to an electrocardiogram (EKG) machine that receives information about how quickly your heart is beating and its rhythm. The EKG measures the electrical signals that pass through your heart.

During the test, you’ll also wear a blood pressure cuff. You may be asked to breathe into a tube to check the gases you exhale during the test.

Once these preparations are complete, you’ll begin exercising on a treadmill or stationary bicycle. The level of exertion will increase as the test progresses. If you experience pain or feel that you cannot continue, the test will end.

What is a nuclear stress test?

A nuclear stress test works in much the same way, but it includes a small volume of a radioactive substance called a radionuclide that’s injected into your bloodstream. A specialized camera captures images of the radionuclide as it moves through your circulatory system.

Sections of your arteries that are blocked cannot absorb the radionuclide, which makes those areas highly visible during the test. Dr. Shareghi gains a great deal of information during the test, including identifying areas of blockage, the size of your heart chambers, and whether your heart has sustained damage.

Nuclear stress testing can also be done without exercise, making it a good option for those with arthritis or other physical limitations. During the test, a medication hastens your heartbeat, much the same way physical exercise would. That allows both “resting” and “active” readings.

Is stress testing safe?

Stress testing has a well-established safety record. As with any medical procedure, there are risks involved with stress testing, including:

  • Arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat)
  • Discomfort related to medications
  • Low blood pressure and feelings of dizziness  

Some men and women who need medication to increase their heart rate may encounter asthma-like symptoms, including shortness of breath and wheezing.

To learn more about stress testing or to schedule your test, reach out to Cardiovascular Care Center today.