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Advice from the BP Measurement Experts

5 Tips for Preparing for a Cardiac Stress Test

For accuracy purposes, some diagnostic tests require a little preparation on your part. So, what do you need to do before you have a cardiac stress test? According to a recent publication by the Heart and Vascular Team at the Cleveland Clinic, the following tips are good to know before you step on the treadmill:

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Cardiac Stress Tests Help Predict the Future

Picture of Heart in a Crystal Ball being held by a hand.

Let’s be honest, a cardiac stress test can be just that – stressful! So how do physicians know when it’s appropriate to use this as a way to evaluate how well a patient’s heart is handling its workload? Well, it’s actually by considering a few different factors. Is the patient healthy enough to walk on a treadmill or bike on an ergometer? What if the patient presents healthy, yet there is a family history of heart disease? After evaluating those parameters, the question then becomes which type of stress test [see previous blog] should the patient actually undergo? The good news - there may now be further guidance for physicians when it comes to making this decision, specifically for males who are at risk.

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When Physicians Should Be Present for Stress Testing

Picture of young woman on a treadmill performing a stress test under the supervision of a doctor.

When it comes to patient safety in stress labs, opinions run the gamut as to which clinicians actually need to be in the room during a cardiac stress test. Historically, it has been considered best practice to always have a physician present as those being tested are typically thought to be at risk of having some type of potential cardiovascular disease. And let’s face it – wouldn’t you want your doctor in the room in case something went wrong? But in today’s struggling economy, even stress labs are looking for ways to cut costs, and having a non-physician supervise a stress test if the patient is considered lower risk has become common practice.

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Relax...Tips for Accurate Cardiac Stress BP Measurement

Audio Series by SunTech MedicalWhen most people have their blood pressure (BP) taken, it’s typically done by a clinician in a physician’s office. A past blog post - 10 Factors That Can Affect Your BP Reading– discusses several factors which may influence your BP reading during these visits, which are usually conducted under routine or “normal” conditions. But what if you are having your BP taken under different circumstances such as during a cardiac stress test or ABPM study? Do these same factors still apply?


Well, yes and no. Accurate cuff size and placement are still critical; however, as a result of the motion and noise introduced during these tests, not all of the 10 factors still apply. For example, during a cardiac stress test, your body will be ‘stressed’ on purpose. It will be necessary for you to talk to your clinician about how you feel throughout the course of the assessment. Additionally, you will not have any support other than the bar of the treadmill or the Ergometer and there are not any significant ‘rest times’ between measurements. So, how do you collect an accurate BP in an environment such as this?

Follow these simple tips:

  • Relax the arm on which the BP cuff has been placed
  • Do not grip the bar of the treadmill or Ergometer
  • Stand up straight – no leaning on the rail
  • Follow instructions carefully for when cuff inflates

To request a free, digital copy with a complete list of tips, simply click the button below to get one today! (Available in English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Czech, Polish, Dutch, Brazilian Portuguese, Turkish, Chinese, and Japanese)

 

 

 

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3 Types of Stress Tests: Part 2 of 2 - The ECHO and Nuc

ECHO and Nuc Stress TestingIn my previous blog I talked about one of the three types of stress tests, how your doctor will calculate your maximum heart rate, and what types of parameters they may be looking for during a stress test. In the second portion of the blog I will go over the other two types of stress testing, what parameters are looked for during these tests and why one may be used over the other.

 

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3 Types of Stress Tests: Part 1 of 2 - The ETT

Exercise Stress Test Running ManHave you ever been to your doctor’s office and wondered why one type of test was ordered over another? And, if they are all important, what makes a doctor ask for that particular type of test? Well when it comes to stress testing there are many different types of tests but generally they all come down to 3 different types. If your doctor orders you to have a stress test this can mean that you are having a cardiac or exercise stress test (often called an ETT or an exercise treadmill test), an echocardiogram stress test (often called Stress ECHO), or a nuclear stress test (often called a Walking Nuc or Nuc Test).

We have found that the type of test ordered is determined by your heart’s health or by your physical condition. In our 2 part blog series we will try to answer these questions about why one test can be used over another, what your doctor may be looking for during this test, and what parameters they look at during the test.

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Cardiologists, Choose Your Weapons Wisely!

heart wrenchWhen all else fails, keep it simple. Isn’t this what we have been told since childhood? It seems that some cardiologists have gone back to this basic philosophy when it comes to diagnosing heart disease. Dr Martha Gulati, a cardiologist at the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center where she specializes in women’s heart disease, says that it is “simple stuff” like an exercise stress test that can “catch blockages and predict hypertension” that other more high-tech tests sometimes miss. She says that using an exercise stress test in a recent case allowed her to “find significant disease” that other tests like an MRI completely missed.

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Top 7 Reasons You Should Be Using Automated Blood Pressure for Cardiac Stress Testing

Cardiac Stress Blood PressureAs any cardiologist will tell you, a cardiac stress test is a fundamental step to diagnosing a multitude of heart conditions and is a necessary tool for any cardiac care facility.  The average cardiac stress test lab contains ECG stress systems, Echocardiogram machines, treadmills, ergometers and …. manual blood pressure gauges?  With all of this automated equipment that allows us to remove variability and minimize inherent patient risk, why are we still trying to take blood pressures manually during a stress test?!

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Advantages of Automated Blood Pressure Measurement during Cardiac Stress Testing

Tango+ Stress BPCardiac stress testing is commonly used to gauge how well the heart works and to identify if a patient is at risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD). During a cardiac stress test a patient walks on a treadmill or rides a stationary bike. As exercise intensity increases, the heart has to pump harder and use more oxygen. This mimics the strain placed on the heart when arteries are blocked or narrowed. Several parameters are monitored during the stress test including ECG waveforms, blood pressure, and oxygen saturation.

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