What You Should Know about EKGs and Stress Tests
By Grand Rapids Cardiology
February 20, 2020
Category: General
Tags: EKGs  

Performed by your cardiologist, Dr. Ronald VanderLaan, here at Grand Rapids Cardiology in Grand Rapids, MI, EKGs and stress tests provide valuable information about your heart. Read on to learn how they are performed, and how they can improve your cardiovascular health.

What are EKGs?

Electrocardiograms (EKGs) measure the electrical activity in your heart by showing how long it takes for an electrical impulse to travel from one part of your heart to the next. Evaluating these waves on either a printout or screen helps your cardiologist diagnose heart failure, irregular heartbeats, defects, and blood supply issues, amongst others.

The test is completely painless and only takes a few minutes to complete.

What are stress tests?

Stress tests evaluate how well your heart works when you are active. During this test, an EKG machine monitors your heart's electrical activity while you run on a treadmill or ride a stationary bicycle. Your heart rate and blood pressure will also be measured during this time.

You will begin the assessment by slowly running or pedaling the bike, before gradually increasing your speed until you reach your target heart rate. The entire test only takes about 10 or 15 minutes, although it may end early if your cardiologist detects any sign of a problem with your heart. If you can't exercise, you can still have a stress test. Instead of running or riding a bike, you'll receive a medication that raises your heart rate.

Stress tests may be recommended:

  • After heart surgery, a cardiac procedure, or a heart attack
  • To make sure you're healthy enough to exercise
  • If you've been experiencing chest pain, shortness of breath, unusual fatigue, or other symptoms that could be caused by a heart problem
  • To determine if exercise affects the rhythm of your heart
  • If you have a heart condition or diabetes

Concerned about your heart health? Give us a call

Call Dr. VanderLaan of Grand Rapids Cardiology today by dialing (616) 717-5141.