Cardiac Stress Tests at Jupiter Medical Center
Stress tests are a common test used to evaluate the heart, or more specifically,
how the heart performs when it’s working hard.
Doctors use stress tests to assess a wide range of potential heart problems,
including irregular heartbeat, angina (chest pain) or shortness of breath.
A stress test may be ordered if you have been diagnosed with heart disease
or have had heart surgery and your physician wants to evaluate your current
Jupiter Medical Center Cardiology Services offers diagnostic testing in
a hospital setting where patients receive care in private testing rooms.
A cardiologist and registered nurse are in attendance for all tests.
What are the Different Types of Cardiac Stress Tests?
There are several types of stress tests your physician may want you to
have. Your doctor will discuss which test is the best for you.
Exercise stress test: During exercise stress testing, you will walk or run on a treadmill or
pedal a stationary bike to progressively make your heart work harder.
During the test, your heart’s electrical activity is measured using
an electrocardiogram (ECG), and you will be monitored afterward as your
heart rate returns to normal.
By evaluating how your heart responds to being “stressed” by
exercise, your doctor can determine if you may have problems with blood
flow in the heart, such as blockages or a narrowing of the arteries caused
by the buildup of plaque. Plaque, a hallmark of coronary artery disease,
can lead to symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, or extreme
fatigue with activity. If a stress test indicates you may have coronary
artery disease, follow-up testing may be needed.
A stress test can also determine what level of exercise is safest for you.
Exercise stress tests can also be combined with heart imaging, such as
an echocardiogram, to create pictures of the heart during exercise.
Pharmacological stress test: Some conditions may make it difficult to exercise to raise your heart
rate high enough for an exercise stress test. Conditions such as arthritis,
lung disease, or other orthopedic issues may prevent you from walking
or pedaling vigorously enough to stress your heart.
If this is the case, your doctor may recommend a pharmacologic stress test
that uses a medication to stimulate your heart. Jupiter Medical Center
performs pharmacological stress tests using dobutamine, which mimics the
effect of exercise on the heart.
Nuclear Stress Test: Nuclear stress tests use imaging technology and a “tracer”
containing a very small amount of radioactive material injected into the
veins to show how blood flows through the heart before, during and after
exercise. The images can show coronary artery blockages, areas of damaged
heart muscle, and the performance of previously placed stents to hold
open coronary arteries.
What's the Difference Between an Exercise Stress Test and a Nuclear
A stress test that involves a treadmill or a stationary bike and an EKG
to read your heart rhythm is known as an exercise stress test.
Nuclear stress tests use a radioactive tracer that's injected into
the bloodstream via IV, along with imaging technology, such as an echocardiogram,
to examine blood flow in the heart. Nuclear stress tests are also referred
to as imaging stress tests or myocardial perfusion imaging (MPI).
Nuclear stress tests provide more information about the heart than an exercise
stress test, and are often used to diagnose coronary artery disease, and
can identify if there area areas of the heart not getting enough blood.
Nuclear stress tests can also reveal the size and shape of the heart,
and how well it's pumping blood.
Jupiter Medical Center offers nuclear stress tests under the care of the
radiologists and nuclear medicine technologists in our nuclear medicine
department. Nuclear stress tests at Jupiter Medical Center are performed
using a single photon emission computer tomography (SPECT) scan.
Cardiolite Stress Test at Jupiter Medical Center
Cardiolite is a radioactive tracer that is injected through an IV into
a vein in your arm, and flows through the bloodstream to the heart, where
it is taken up by the heart muscle cells. The areas of the heart that
have adequate blood supply absorb the tracer quickly and more completely,
whereas the areas that have blockages either don’t absorb the tracer
or they do so slowly.
Cardiolite is not a medicine or a dye, and will not cause side effects
or symptoms. The amount of radiation is very low, and it is gone by the next day.
The exam takes several hours. First, the tracer is administered. It takes
time for the tracer to circulate to the heart, so expect to wait about
45 minutes or so. Then, images of your heart at rest are taken. Later,
you will be asked to exercise on a treadmill or a stationary bike until
you reach maximum exertion, and another scan will be taken.
Or, if an exercise stress test isn’t possible, you may be given an
infusion of dobutamine to raise your heart rate.
Comprehensive Care for Your Heart
Jupiter Medical Center’s Heart & Vascular Institute is one of
Florida’s leading cardiovascular centers. Offering a full spectrum
of screening and diagnostic testing, heart rhythm treatments, minimally
invasive cardiac catheterization procedures, cardiac surgery and rehabilitation,
Jupiter Medical Center is your partner in heart health.
Jupiter Medical Center has earned chest pain certification from the Joint
Commission, and our team includes many of our region’s most highly
regarded cardiologists, electrophysiologists and surgeons. Contact us
for more information at (561) 263-3078.