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A pharmacological stress test is done when an exercise stress test is not possible due to physical limitations like back trouble, joint disease, prior stroke, dizziness or shortness of breath.
A chemical or pharmacological stress test uses a medication that increases your heart load in the place of exercise. An imaging technique such as echocardiography measures how much air moves in and out of your lungs.
Dignity Health Heart and Vascular Institute of Greater Sacramento provides exceptional diagnostics for our heart and vascular patients. Our physicians use the latest technology to ensure an accurate diagnosis so we can provide you with the best course of treatment available.
The imaging portion of the test is identical to that used during an exercise stress test. You will have an IV (intravenous line) in your arm for the medication.
Before the test begins, a spirometry test may be done. This will measure the amount of air you inhale while at rest.
During the test, your heart rate, breathing and blood pressure are monitored.
Throughout the process, blood samples may be taken. This is done to measure oxygen and waste products in the blood during exercise.
After the test you can return to your normal diet, activity and medications. If you were told to skip medications before the test, ask if you should take them now. Your doctor will discuss the test results with you at your next visit.
Allow at least 30 minutes to check in. Prepare for the test as directed. You may be told to do any of the following:
Like many tests, this test involves some risks. They may include: