Pharmacologic Stress Test

Indication for Pharmacological Stress Test

Pharmacologic stress testing is generally instituted when contraindications to routine exercise stress exist or when the patient is unable to exercise because of debilitating conditions in various forms.

These include the following general indications:

  • Elderly patients with decreased functional capacity and possible CAD
  • Patients with chronic debilitation and possible CAD
  • Younger patients with functional impairment due to injury, arthritis, orthopedic problems, peripheral neuropathy, myopathies, or peripheral vascular disease, in which a maximal heart rate is not easily achieved with routine exercise stress testing.
  • Other cases, including patients taking beta-blockers or other negative chronotropic agents that would inhibit the ability to achieve an adequate heart response to exercise.

Note: Pharmcologic stress testing is used in combination with imaging modalities such as radionuclide cardiac scan or echocardiography.

What are the Type of Pharmaceutical Agents Used?

  • Adenosine
  • Dipyridamole (Persantine)
  • Regadenoson (Lexiscan)
  • Dobutamine

How Do I Prepare for a Stress Test?

  • Do not eat or drink at least four hours prior to your stress test.
  • Do not eat or drink foods containing caffeine for 12 hours before the test. Caffeine will interfere with the results of your test.
  • Do not take the following heart medications on the day of your test unless your doctor tells you otherwise, or if the medication is needed to treat chest discomfort the day of the test: isosorbide dinitrate, isosorbide mononitrate, nitroglycerine, certain beta-blocking and calcium channel blocking medications.
  • Do not take your diabetic pills until after the test is completed.
  • If you take insulin for your diabetes, take half of your usual dose.
  • If you have reactive airway disease such as asthma, please indicate so the technician. Also, bring your inhaler to your stress test.