Exams and Tests
Before starting a Reference cardiac rehabilitation (rehab) Opens New Window program, a thorough risk assessment will be done to find out your heart health and the types of exercises you can safely do. Testing may be done before and during cardiac rehab to help your doctor decide whether you can safely take part in a program and to monitor your progress.
Tests to find out your ability to exercise that may be done before you start cardiac rehab include:
- Reference Resting electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG), a test that measures the electrical signals that control the rhythm of your heartbeat. The graph that shows the results is called an electrocardiogram. A resting ECG will sometimes show if more extensive testing is needed before you start an exercise program.
- Reference Exercise electrocardiogram (ECG), a test that records the electrical activity of the heart. An exercise electrocardiogram (sometimes called a stress or treadmill test) is done during exercise to evaluate how the heart responds to exercise. Your doctor can use the test results to prescribe a safe amount of exercise for you.
- Reference Echocardiogram (echo), a type of Reference ultrasound Opens New Window test that uses high-pitched sound waves to produce an image of the heart. The sound waves are sent through a device called a transducer and are reflected off the various structures of the heart. This test shows how well your heart is pumping blood and how well your heart valves are working. Sometimes it is combined with an exercise stress test.
- Reference Cardiac perfusion scan, a test to estimate the amount of blood reaching the heart muscle during rest and exercise. It is typically done to find out the cause of unexplained chest pain or to find out the location and amount of injured heart muscle after a Reference heart attack Opens New Window.
- Reference Ambulatory electrocardiogram (Holter monitoring test), which monitors the electrical activity of your heart while you go about your usual daily activities. Many heart problems occur only during certain activities, such as exercise, eating, sex, emotional stress, bowel movements, or even sleeping. A continuous recording is much more likely to detect any abnormal heartbeats that occur during these activities.
Other testing can help monitor your progress during cardiac rehab. Additional monitoring may include blood pressure, cholesterol, weight, and blood sugar levels.
You will be monitored closely when you first begin your cardiac rehab program. But after your exercise program is well established, you probably won't need continuous supervision. But if your doctor determines that you have special needs, he or she may want you to wear a monitoring device at home.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference September 27, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
Reference John A. McPherson, MD, FACC, FSCAI - Cardiology