EKG and Stress Testing
Our Cardiovascular Center has the latest innovative technology to detect and diagnose heart diseases. Our two stress testing labs are staffed by expert cardiologists, nurses, technologists, and radiologists. Our physicians receive information in real-time via our Cardiovascular Information System so we can deliver results and treatment quickly.
Outpatient Testing Services
Electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG)
An EKG is a painless test that measures your heart’s electrical activity. Electrodes are on placed on your chest while you are lying down and a 12 second recording is made. It takes about five minutes to administer the test.
A Holter monitor is a portable EKG device that is worn for 24 hours. Your doctor may recommend this outpatient test to evaluate your symptoms or the effectiveness of your medications.
Exercise Stress Testing
Stress testing is useful in determining the underlying cause of a heart condition. Under controlled conditions, exercise is used to assess the heart’s response to activity. A physician or cardiac nurse and a technician will be with you at all times. To monitor your heart, you will first be connected to an EKG and blood pressure cuff. The test begins at a slow pace and is designed to make the heart work progressively harder by gradually increasing the speed and incline of the treadmill. You will also be asked to slow down and eventually sit down for a few minutes so that your heart rate returns to baseline. You can ask to stop the test at any time.
Nuclear Stress Testing
Nuclear stress testing provides images that measure areas of low blood flow through the heart while you are at rest and while exercising. A small amount of radioactive isotope is injected into a vein before and during exercise or medication administration to help produce the images.
Pharmacologic Stress Testing
Your doctor may suggest pharmacologic stress testing, which involves administering medications intravenously in a safe, controlled environment. The medication causes the heart’s arteries to react as they would during exercise.
How to Prepare for Your Stress Test Appointment
• Do not eat the morning of your test.
• Check with your doctor to see if you should take your medications before the test.
• Avoid consuming caffeine at least 24 hours before the test (e.g., coffee, tea, cola, chocolate, etc.).
• Please bring rubber-soled shoes (e.g., jogging or tennis sneakers) and wear comfortable clothes.
• If you experience chest pain, dizziness, difficulty breathing, or don't feel well on the day of the exam, please call your doctor or the Cardiovascular Center at 781-624-8307 to discuss before coming to your appointment.
To pre-register for outpatient testing services or questions about tests, please call (781) 624-8307.