Pharmacologic stress imaging is a type of medical imaging that uses medication to help doctors see how well your heart is working. The medication, called a stress agent, is usually given through an IV. It works by making your heart work harder, which can help doctors see how well blood is flowing to your heart muscle. Dr. Maddahi offers pharmacologic imaging with echocardiogram or nuclear stress tests to aid in heart attack prevention in Los Angeles.
How Does It Work
Pharmacologic stress imaging is a type of imaging that uses medication to bring about stress in the heart muscle. The medication used is typically adenosine or dobutamine, i.e., drugs that increase the heart rate and blood pressure. The stress caused by these drugs makes the heart work harder and can reveal areas of the heart that are not getting enough blood flow.
Pharmacologic stress imaging starts with a resting phase, during which pictures are taken of your heart at rest. You’ll then be given the stress agent through an IV, and more pictures will be taken as your heart starts working harder. After the stress phase, you’ll have a recovery phase, during which more pictures will be taken as your heart returns to its normal resting state.
Echocardiogram or Nuclear Stress Test
Pharmacologic stress imaging is typically done using an echocardiogram (echo) or nuclear stress test. An echo is a type of ultrasound that uses sound waves to create a picture of the heart. A nuclear stress test uses a small amount of radioactive material to create pictures of the heart. Both of these types of tests can be done with or without exercise and help the doctor create a plan for heart attack prevention in Los Angeles.
With exercise, the patient will walk on a treadmill or ride a stationary bike while their heart rate and blood pressure are monitored. This part of the test is called the exercise stress test. The rest of the test is done while the patient is at rest. The echo or nuclear stress test will show how well blood is flowing to the heart muscle, and if certain areas aren’t receiving enough blood.
Why Is It Done
Pharmacologic stress imaging can help doctors diagnose problems with your heart, such as coronary artery disease. The cardiologist can also examine your blood flow and determine if certain parts of your heart don’t receive adequate blood flow, which can increase the risk of a stroke. It can also help them determine how well your heart is functioning after a heart attack or other type of heart disease.
Dr. Maddahi may recommend pharmacologic stress imaging for the following reasons:
- To diagnose atherosclerosis, coronary artery disease, or other conditions that lead to a narrowing or hardening of the arteries because of plaque buildup.
- To diagnose the cause of shortness of breath, chest pain, and lightheadedness.
- To determine a suitable and safe level of exercise amongst heart patients.
- To screen for heart conditions in patients with a family history or high risk of heart disease and heart attack prevention in Los Angeles.
- To predict the risk of future heart conditions, such as a stroke or a heart failure.
- To measure the success or effects of previous heart surgeries and treatments.
Avoid Unnecessary Surgeries
Dr. Maddahi, one of the leading heart doctors in Los Angeles, is known for improving and pioneering new techniques for cardiovascular care. He is committed to using the latest, cutting-edge technologies to identify and address your heart conditions at the earliest stage possible to help you avoid complex surgeries down the line. Call us or schedule an appointment if you have any questions about our diagnostic techniques or stress imaging.