A stress test can be used to test for heart disease. Stress tests are tests performed by a trained technician to determine the amount of stress that your heart can manage before developing either an abnormal rhythm or evidence of ischemia (not enough blood flow to the heart muscle).
There are many different types of stress tests, including:
Treadmill stress test: As long as you can walk and have a normal ECG, this is normally the first stress test performed.
Dobutamine Stress Test: This test is used in people who are unable to exercise. A drug is given to make the heart respond as if the person were exercising. This way the doctor can still determine how the heart responds to stress, but no exercise is required.
Nuclear stress test: This test helps to determine which parts of the heart are healthy and function normally and which are not. A small amount of radioactive substance (isotope) is injected into the patient. Then the Nuclear Medicine technologist uses a special camera to identify the rays emitted from the substance within the body; this produces clear pictures of the heart tissue on a monitor. These pictures are done both at rest and after exercise. Using this technique, areas of the heart that have a decreased blood supply can be detected.
Preparation for these types of stress tests will vary from preparation for the exercise stress test. Ask your doctor about any specific instructions.