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Dutchess_III's avatar

Have you ever undergone a stress test?

Asked by Dutchess_III (42442points) February 19th, 2015

I’m scheduled to have one tomorrow morning, wondering what to expect.

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41 Answers

hominid's avatar

I did. They hooked me up to a ton of wires and had me walk briskly on a treadmill. They increased the speed and incline gradually. If I recall, the whole thing was over in 20 minutes.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Did it about kill you?

hominid's avatar

No. Not at all. The woman who ran the test was great, and we were talking the whole time. I think she did that to see how out of breath I would get in order to figure out how fast to set the treadmill. It never got to a point where it was uncomfortable.

Dutchess_III's avatar

How old were you?

keobooks's avatar

My grandma had one in her late 80s when she was prepping for knee surgery. She said it didn’t hurt or wear her out, but she was angry because they kept making it harder until it was “too hard”. We couldn’t convince her that was the whole point of the stress test. She honestly thought at some point you “passed” it if you were in amazing physical shape and they’d just stop the test.

She’s always been an overachiever. She’s still mad about “flunking” the stress test. (She did amazingly well for her age. But she did eventually get “stressed” on the test, as everyone does.)

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, I haven’t had any stress since yesterday, so maybe it will do me some good! Do they just go until you holler?

rojo's avatar

You need a test to tell you if you are stressed??

Congratulations, you passed.

You do not have stress.

jk btw

Dutchess_III's avatar

I do too have stress! My husband has been hanging out at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas since Sunday, while I’m stuck freezing my ass off! If that ain’t stress I don’t know what is. Sniff.

keobooks's avatar

In Las Vegas, you say? Maybe he is the mystery road rager with the shot gun..THINK about it..

Dutchess_III's avatar

I’m thinking, I’m thinking…NO! Not him.

Aethelwine's avatar

What @hominid said. I had one two weeks ago.

They need to get your heart rate to 140. Once it reaches that point they’ll have you continue for about a minute or two, then they’ll gradually slow you down. The entire process takes about 20 minutes. If you are having any difficulties they will stop or slow you down.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, according to my husband, his like to have killed him! But, he’s a drama king, so….

yankeetooter's avatar

I had the medicine version the other day…

Dutchess_III's avatar

I was going to ask you about that…..and your experience kind of has me scared.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Dutchess_III Don’t sweat it too much. I’ve had two. One in my twenties that took a long time. I was in great shape and it took about 30 minutes, but it was a good workout. The last one was a few years ago and they had me stop my BP meds 24 hours before. That was quick, my BP spiked, so they stopped after 10 or so minutes. It’s just walking on a treadmill. It’s not hard.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I’m afraid of what they might find.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Well, do you want to know what it is and deal with it, or wait until it blindsides you in a bad situation? I’m guessing they find nothing, or they can deal with what they find. Mine were both okay.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I’m ready to face whatever, so that’s why I’m going through with it.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Dutchess_III Hey, you’re sweating this way too much. My grandfather had a heart attack when I was a kid. They put him in a hospital bed. That was it. Now the stuff they do is amazing. If you have faith in your docs trust them.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Thanks you guys. I will never let Rick accompany me to a casual Dr’s visit again. It was an off-the-wall comment he made that has led to this.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

They’re not that bad. As has been said, the goal is to push you. It doesn’t take long.

Glad yours went well @jonsblond.

JLeslie's avatar

I had one many years ago. I suck at running; I get winded fast. I finished the test, but I could tell I pushed myself for hours afterwards. The doctor said everything looked great though. I didn’t feel great. I would say on a scale of 1–10 of people that don’t have any significant heart trouble my ability to jog and run for a distance is like a 3 compared to the average person. I think most people would breeze through the tests.

Are you having any dyes injected or swallowed, or however they do it? I didn’t have that done.

osoraro's avatar

You get hooked up to an ECG machine. Then you walk onto a treadmill which gets faster and steeper until you poop out. That’s it.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

I had one a few years ago because of a slightly abnormal EKG reading, and palpitations that were picked up on a heart monitor while I was in the hospital.

They aren’t too bad. When I went in, I had to disrobe from the waist up. They gave me a shirt to wear that was left open in the front – which was slightly uncomfortable, because your girls are just hanging out for whoever is in the room to see. Then they placed electrodes on my chest to look at my heart to see if everything was functioning normally before they told me to get on the treadmill.

Once on the treadmill, they slowly increase the speed until your heart rate gets to where they want it, or until you tell them you’re so uncomfortable you don’t want to do it anymore. Then, while still connected to all of the electrodes, I had to immediate lay back down on the examination table on my left side so that they could determine if my heart was behaving normally after exercise.

All in all, it probably took about 35–40 minutes for the testing. I learned that everything was normal, except that I have a small heart murmur.

Completely painless and more annoying than anything else. I don’t know why, exactly, your doctor wants you to have one, but I hope it goes well, and that you get normal results.

JLeslie's avatar

@DrasticDreamer They could tell you had a murmur from the EKG? I didn’t think they could do that. Are you sure you didn’t also have an echo done? Maybe it’s just the murmur I have. I don’t know much about the diagnostics, I just know what they do to evaluate me.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, I’m back. 5 freaking hours at the hospital getting a battery of tests done. Stress test wasn’t bad. I didn’t poop out very much. They stopped it on their own.

Dutchess_III's avatar

They did an ultrasound of my heart. I got to hear it swishing and the blood gurgling through it. She said it all sounded good. I just thought it was amazing that this heart of mine has been beating, non-stop, for 57 years (if you count back to when it actually started beating, in the uterus.) Non stop. Amazing.

Pachy's avatar

I had one a few years ago but due to several reasons, they due to my bad knees, they opted to give me a chemical stress test (in which they injected me with caffeine) rather than the traditional treadmill type.

osoraro's avatar

Oh, they did a stress echo. What you were hearing wasn’t the blood swishing and gurgling. What you heard was a reflected ultrasonic doppler signal.

Dutchess_III's avatar

* blink blink * Well, she told me it was the blood! I guess that’s what everyone wants to hear. But, it’s still amazing.

Aethelwine's avatar

I had my echo after my stress test and it was very interesting to watch. We are so lucky to have this technology.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Yes we are.

JLeslie's avatar

@osoraro Can they diagnose a murmur from an EKG? I always thought you need an echo to diagnose one. That, or the less sophisticated just listening with a stethoscope.

Aethelwine's avatar

not osoraro but my husband just had specialists listening to his heart with a stethoscope to see if they could hear a murmur after he told them he had a slight murmur as a child. They said if he did have one it must be very faint.

JLeslie's avatar

When I was a kid my doctors always heard the murmur. As an adult one out of maybe ten hear it not including my cardiologists who do. I think the younger doctors maybe aren’t as trained to listen now, or don’t listen long enough and carefully enough. Or, maybe pediatricians are more careful to listen for one? I don’t know.

osoraro's avatar

Dutch, it is the blood, sort of. But it’s not the sound of the blood you’re hearing. It’s a Doppler signal.

Jleslie, you can’t diagnose a murmur with an ECG

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@JLeslie No, he diagnosed me with a murmur from listening with a stethoscope. It was the EKG that came back abnormal, around the same time I was having palpitations. Sorry for the confusion.

JLeslie's avatar

@DrasticDreamer It’s still good for you to know that if they wanted to really evaluate your murmur it’s done with an echo. Your EKG is normal, but you still have a faulty valve, and the blood doesn’t flow perfectly. I’m not saying you have to worry about it, it’s probably benign, but as you get older you might want to check it.

When I started having arrhythmias my internist did a quick EKG and told me I was normal. He never mentioned hearing my murmur, which I know I have and I list it on the initial questionnaire the doctor gives you to fill out. Finally, a couple years later I told my GYN about my heart concern and he said, “go to a cardiologist,” which I finally did. That’s where I got diagnosed. It’s benign, but now I know what’s going on.

What I learned was, I’m right a lot of the time about my body. A double edged sword for me. My heart was and does miss a beat. It’s only important, because I often avoid going to the doctor, because I feel like I’m not believed or that they won’t diagnose me anyway.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

@JLeslie Yeah, it was the cardiologist who told me about my murmur. I was sent because something on the EKG/ECG (I don’t know the difference) came back abnormal at the hospital. Before the cardiologist, I never knew I had a murmur. He did say it was a small one and didn’t seem concerned.

JLeslie's avatar

@DrasticDreamer I hasn’t understood your EKG was abnormal. I have no idea about that. It sounds to me like the doctor left you with the impression that it was abnormal, because of your murmur. Would that be correct? If so, that’s my point, you don’t see a murmur on an EKG. You still don’t know what made that abnormal. Not that I think you have to worry about it, if the cardiologist was satisfied that your ok, I think your ok.

I just like to know what the hell is testing for what, and you know I second guess the doctors a lot. It’s good and bad.

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