Heart Health: Breen undergoes cardiac stress test - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Heart Health: Breen undergoes cardiac stress test

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SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) -

For folks facing a family history of heart disease, there's one test that could save your life. A cardiac "stress test".

Dr. Ramin Artang, Mercy Cardiology says, "You're age is 39, right?" Matt Breen, Reporting says, " Yep." I'm not the typical patient Dr. Ramin Artang sees on the treadmill at the Mercy Heart Center. Dr. Ramin Artang, Mercy Cardiology says, "So, a guy your age, I expect to go 12 minutes." Some patients won't even walk half that long to test the effect of stress on their heart.

But, before I start stepping, I have to shave. Dr. Ramin Artang, Mercy Cardiology says, "We didn't tell you that part!" You see, there can't be anything between these electrodes, and the electrical activity of my heart.

But, before the stress test starts, I need an echocardiogram... a real-time, two dimensional picture of my heart "at rest." Dr. Ramin Artang, Mercy Cardiology says, "Your valves look fine." That will be compared to an "echo" of my heart after I hit the treadmill. But, that's not the only thing Dr. Artang is looking at.

Dr. Ramin Artang, Mercy Cardiology says, "When we look at this test we look at several things. One is how your EKG changes. The other is how you look during your test."

Step one... about two miles an hour on a 10% incline. Dr. Ramin Artang, Mercy Cardiology says, "Looking good!" After three minutes, the speed jumps to 2.5 mph, and the incline rises to 12%. After six minutes, I'm walking at more than three mph. At nine minutes, 4.2 mph uphill at a 16% incline. Dr. Ramin Artang, Mercy Cardiology says, "This is a pretty decent level of exercise."

But, not everyone will walk this long, or this fast. Dr. Ramin Artang, Mercy Cardiology says, "Expectation is different with age. An 80-year-old person we'd like to see them walk 4 to 5 minutes." After 12-minutes, the treadmill jumps to 5 mph, at an 18% incline... and I start jogging. Dr. Ramin Artang, Mercy Cardiology says, "One more minute Matt, are you okay with that?"

The goal is to get to 85% of my maximum heart rate. To find your maximum heart rate, subtract your age from the number 220. Dr. Ramin Artang, Mercy Cardiology says, "Looking good!" Then, it's off the treadmill, and back to the gurney for another echo to capture my beating heart after exercise. Dr. Ramin Artang, Mercy Cardiology says, "We expect to see that function is much more active with exercise than without. That's why these images look a little lazier. But, that's normal. They were normal to begin with. They're just much more active with exercise."

Matt Breen, Reporting says, "If you saw something abnormal, what would be the next step? Dr. Ramin Artang, Mercy Cardiology says, "Cardiac cathterization. That's where you have to put wires into the vessel system. And, go and look at that."

But, my stress test was normal. Dr. Ramin Artang, Mercy Cardiology says, "You have a normal heart rate, slightly high blood pressure. But, you had a completely normal stress test. Your functional level is considered excellent. Other than that everything looks good. No worries."

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