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Old 06-21-2017, 10:29 AM
 
Location: San Bernardino County (previously L.A.)
4,483 posts, read 7,535,028 times
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I don't know what's happening w/ my body. I've been healthy all along, then BOOM! I turned 42 in January & all kinds of things are starting to happen!

So I've been having dizziness (maybe it's vertigo) for the past 3 wks now (in addition to this mystery respiratory issue since Jan & been seeing a pulmonologist). I just made an appt for next week in which I'm working on getting a referral for an echocardiogram and stress test.

What do they entail? Anything to do to prep for it? This is all new to me. TIA.
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Old 06-21-2017, 12:44 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh
21,465 posts, read 22,706,474 times
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I've had both in the past few years to rule out cardiac issues for dizziness/fainting spells. For both, lay off the caffeine before the tests. The doctors/techs will give you more specific instructions on how they do things and what you need to do.

For the stress test, wear something loose and comfortable, because unless they do something different now, you're going to have to run on a treadmill hooked up to wires.

For the echocardiogram, you're going to have to take your shirt and bra off and put on a hospital gown. Laying on your side, the tech (I had a kindly lady) will move the wand around to get different angles of your heart.
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Old 06-21-2017, 03:46 PM
 
1,359 posts, read 653,492 times
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Wear something you can run on a treadmill in comfortably, because you'll get sweaty....I wished I had brought a towel to put on the back of my neck, was dripping in sweat by the end of it. Immediately after that, you'll lie down while they do the rest of it. I had an IV in the back of my hand, which was uncomfortable but not too bad, so they could do the echo with contrast.
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Old 06-21-2017, 09:24 PM
 
Location: home state of Myrtle Beach!
6,233 posts, read 18,128,267 times
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Echo is like an ultrasound but for your heart. My mom just had a stress test and no treadmill was involved!
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Old 06-21-2017, 09:39 PM
 
6,119 posts, read 3,059,598 times
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I'm 57 years old. Up until I was around 20 I had "regular" bouts of skipped and racing heartbeats. I honestly didn't do anything about it (kept it to myself). Then it went dormant.

When I started running 2 years ago started having jumps/racing during runs, but they are very random and can come in clumps or have long periods of nothing. I immediately went to a cardiologist. Had the echo. Did the stress test, and as a runner, I found those 14 or so minutes on the treadmill to be easy. The Dr & nurse were impressed but I told them I wasn't, and they agreed that as a runner I had a distinct advantage. I've had heart monitors. First was the crappy Holter Monitor. Stupid electrodes, and carrying around Terminator crap. A PIA to run and shower with, and a waste because too short of a period to monitor. I've now had a Loop implanted for over 6 months. Easy to deal with. I also went to an electrophysiologist, and with the cardiologist the only answer I was looking for was benign or not (could I run or not)? Ultimately benign. I choose to live with it instead of the procedure to Cauterize one of the electrical signals in my heart. No thanks - I'll risk having to walk some in a race.

After all of that, try to relax and just dig in to get answers. Be proactive. Research on your own. Become knowledgeable and it will ease any stress you may have.
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Old 06-21-2017, 10:46 PM
 
10,869 posts, read 41,150,426 times
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OP wrote: "What do they entail? Anything to do to prep for it?"

Other than normal rest, stay well hydrated prior to the tests. I'd avoid any stimulants or meds that can affect your performance on the treadmill. I'm not a runner, but I do wear comfortable walking shoes, shorts, and a t-shirt for the stress test.

The treadmill exercise is typically done to a "Bruce protocol" standard, where the speed of the treadmill and the angle it is raised to increase every 3 minutes. It starts out at a modest walking pace, and then increases. You'll have electrode patch sensors attached to you before the testing starts to establish baseline traces and HR. A tech will take resting echo heart wall measurements and pictures, and blood pressure. You then exercise on the treadmill to reach your target heart rate for one minute.

While some folk can greatly exceed that level of performance, my cardiologist says that it's not needed to do so for the test results. Many techs will "push" you to a maximal performance exercise where you are exhausted to stop the exercise ... but check with your doctor, he may not need or desire reaching such an extreme if you've maintained a target for one minute.

When you've maintained your target rate, they'll stop the treadmill and have you quickly get back onto the exam table to get the echo heart wall measurements and pictures at the elevated heart rate. "normal" folk have a fairly rapid return to resting baseline numbers, so it's critical to get onto the exam table quickly to get that "stress" echo reading.

The resting EKG uses electrodes in different locations than the stress echo exam. So you'll get a whole new set of them for this EKG exam. The echo test is similar, however, in that you'll be on an exam table and the tech will use a surface probe at various points around your chest to generate the pictures and measurements.

The tests are what they are ... non-invasive diagnostic tools. No need to fret over these tests, they're pretty straightforward to take. A cardiologist will monitor your performance on the treadmill to be standing by in case you have any cardiac distress during the exercise. It doesn't take too long afterward for a cardiologist to read the raw data reports and look at the measurements/pix of the heart in action, then write up the report.
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Old 06-22-2017, 03:02 PM
 
Location: Mostly in my head
19,632 posts, read 53,495,108 times
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There is a "Chemical" stress test which does not involve as treadmill. You get some injection and then they monitor you for a while. I have a bad back and can't do the treadmill.
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Old 06-22-2017, 03:50 PM
 
1,473 posts, read 642,395 times
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There are two types of stress tests.

First one is a simple one the doctor has you run on a treadmill that speeds up and increases in incline every three minutes. You have electrodes on your chest that gives the doctor son idea on how your heart is beating. In this case they'll keep you going as long as you can handle it.

Second one is same as above but they usually stop it when your heart reaches a certain rate and inject you with radioactive tracer and then put you under a scanner to get a view of the heart blood flow.

The second one tells you and the doctor more but some insurances will ask for the first one before they'll cover second one.

In both cases you will have to stay off caffeine for 24 hours, stop high blood pressure medication the night before and don't eat anything until afterwards.

If you can't handle the treadmill they will inject you with drug that will increase your heart rate to the level needed before the radioactive tracer is injected.

No big deal, relax I have done it many times. The cardiologist is right there with you and they will stop if your heart rhythms goes off or you feel like you will faint.
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Old 06-23-2017, 09:28 AM
 
Location: God's Country
4,653 posts, read 3,021,438 times
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On the echo, it's creepy hearing the whoosh of blood being ejected by the left ventricle. At least that's the way it was in 1996. Maybe they have improved the technology to eliminate this noise.
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Old 06-23-2017, 10:02 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh
21,465 posts, read 22,706,474 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Calvert Hall '62 View Post
On the echo, it's creepy hearing the whoosh of blood being ejected by the left ventricle. At least that's the way it was in 1996. Maybe they have improved the technology to eliminate this noise.
I don't remember hearing the noise on mine, but I did think it was funny watching how the open valves kind of looked like those inflatable tube men you see outside car dealerships.
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