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LOVE YOUR HEART: STRESS TESTING - HOW DOES THE STRESS TEST WORK?

An ordinary ECG is not a very sensitive test and may be totally normal despite severe narrowing of the coronary arteries. In order to detect these narrowed coronary arteries, the patient is made to exercise. During exercise, the heart beats faster and harder. This increases the oxygen requirement of the heart muscle which therefore needs more blood. If the coronary arteries are narrowed the heart cannot get its requisite blood supply, which leads to changes in the ECG. With further exercise chest pain may also occur. The stress test makes use of the fact that during exercise ECG changes appear before pain. By performing the stress test under controlled conditions and with constant monitoring of the ECG and blood pressure, the physician attempts to detect heart disorders that cannot be detected by a routine ECG examination.

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Cardio & Blood