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A range of cardiac tests

If you’re considering an exercise stress test or other cardiac tests, here are a few basics to keep in mind:
EXERCISE STRESS TEST (also called treadmill test, exercise test and exercise cardiac stress test):
Doctors monitor your EKG while you’re at rest and when you’re working hard, such as walking on a treadmill or riding a stationary bike.
Good for:
Picking up blockages greater than 70%, showing how much you can safely do after a heart attack or surgery.
ELECTROCARDIOGRAM (EKG or ECG):
Records the heart’s electrical activity and shows abnormal heart rhythms. Can show a heart attack in progress.
Good for:
Showing whether a heart attack has occurred, predicting whether one is developing, monitoring a change in heart rhythm.
ECHOCARDIOGRAM:
An ultrasound for the heart. Patients exercise on a treadmill or bike but instead of using the EKG, doctors place a handheld device on the chest to create video pictures of the heart’s chambers, valves, wall motion and blood flow patterns.
Good for:
Assessing heart health, including abnormal rhythms (arrhythmia) in the heart. For women, it’s slightly more accurate than an exercise stress test.
—Julie Deardorff


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