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Stress Testing Specialist

Brendan Sullivan, MD, FACC

Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Board Certified in Cardiology & Board Certified in Nuclear Cardiology located in Clifton, NJ & Ridgewood, NJ

Brendan Sullivan, MD, FACC, uses cardiac and nuclear stress testing to diagnose certain types of heart disease, to evaluate existing disease and to monitor ongoing treatments. Dr. Sullivan and his expert team are committed to providing patients in Clifton and Ridgewood, New Jersey and the surrounding area the safest, most effective, and most appropriate care for his patients. Call today to schedule an appointment or book online.

Stress Testing Q & A

What is a cardiac stress test?

Cardiac stress tests are diagnostic evaluations that assess how well your heart performs during physical exercise – when it's “stressed.” Some signs of heart disease may not be fully evident when the heart is at rest or during activities that require low levels of exertion, but when exertion levels increase, they can become evident, sometimes even resulting in heart attack. The stress test evaluates how your heart responds to increasing levels of stress in a controlled environment and under the guidance of skilled care providers.

What kind of information does a stress test provide?

Stress tests can be used for lots of purposes, including:

  • Ensuring your heart is able to withstand exercise
  • Diagnosing and evaluating coronary artery disease or determining if a person is at risk for CAD
  • Evaluating the heart's valves
  • Diagnosing rhythm abnormalities
  • Assessing current treatments for heart disease
  • Helping establish safe exercise parameters for people diagnosed with heart disease

How is a stress test performed?

Prior to the test, your heart will be evaluated, either with an electrocardiogram or with an echocardiogram (called a stress echocardiogram test). During the test, you'll be asked to use a treadmill while electrodes remain attached to your chest to monitor your heart's activity. The speed of the treadmill will be increased until your heart reaches a target zone. If you're having an echocardiogram test, the echocardiogram will be repeated as soon as you dismount from the treadmill.

Depending on the type of stress test you're having, you may have dietary or medication restrictions to follow prior to your test. You should also wear loose-fitting clothing. Patients who can't perform or tolerate exercise will be given controlled doses of IV medication to simulate the effects of physical exercise.

What is a nuclear stress test?

Nuclear stress tests are assessments designed to evaluate how the heart responds to increased physical activity. The tests use a special mildly-radioactive dye to highlight areas of the heart and blood vessels prior to and during the test to identify if any areas are not functioning properly or to look for arterial blockages that are preventing normal blood flow to the heart.

When is nuclear stress testing used?

Nuclear stress testing can be used to diagnose several heart-related issues and to monitor their treatment. At our practice, we may use a nuclear stress test to:

  • Evaluate the causes of chest pain
  • Diagnose coronary artery disease (CAD), a condition that develops when the arteries become blocked by a build-up of sticky plaques formed by excess cholesterol in the blood, increasing the risk of heart attack
  • Assess the size of the heart
  • Evaluate how well the heart is pumping blood
  • Manage treatment in patients who have been diagnosed with heart disease

If you’re interested in learning more about your stress testing options, call Brendan Sullivan, MD FACC or book your appointment directly online.