Chemical Stress Test Care

Learn what care is required for the Chemical Stress Test procedure. Find out what you need to do prior to the procedure, how long it will take, if you will be required to stay in the hospital and what the postoperative care is.

Chemical Stress Test Details

What to Expect Prior to Test

Your doctor may do the following:

  • Physical exam
  • Resting electrocardiogram (ECG, EKG)-a test that records the heart's activity by measuring electrical currents through the heart muscle
  • Echocardiogram-a test that uses sound waves (ultrasound) to examine the size, shape, and motion of the heart and the function of its valves
  • Review of your medicines-some may prevent the heart rate from increasing appropriately

Talk with your doctor before the day of the test to discuss how long you should fast (not eat or drink). Your doctor may recommend that you:

  • Do not eat or drink anything with caffeine 12-24 hours before the test.
  • Do not eat or drink anything, except water, four hours before the test.
  • Do not smoke for several hours before the test.
  • Wear comfortable clothing.
  • Bring a list of your current medicines to the test.
  • If you have diabetes, bring your glucose monitor to the test.
  • Tell your doctor if you have asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Description of Test

You will lie down on a table. A technician will place electrodes on your chest. Your resting blood pressure and ECG readings will be taken. An IV (hollow needle and thin tube) will be placed in your arm. You will be hooked up to a heart monitor that will record your heart's activity. Your blood pressure and heart rate will be checked often. A small amount of chemical will be injected through the IV and into your body. Depending on which chemical is used, your heart will beat faster and/or the blood vessels near your heart will open wider. An ECG may also be done at this time.

If you have chest pain, trouble breathing, dizziness, or any other symptoms, tell your doctor or technician right away. The test may need to be stopped. Changes in the ECG may also be a reason to stop the test.

If you are getting nuclear imaging, the technician will inject a mildly radioactive chemical through your IV. Thirty to sixty minutes after the chemical injection, a special camera or an MRI will be used to track the flow of the chemical through and around your heart. Images will be taken to find areas of the heart that may not be getting enough blood or are blocked. If you are getting a stress echocardiogram, an ultrasound will be taken at specific time points. The doctor will compare the pictures of your heart under stress with pictures of your heart at rest.

After Test

Your blood pressure, heart rate, and ECG will be monitored until levels return to normal. You will be able to leave after the test is done. 


Learn what Chemical Stress Test is
What Is
Learn what the procedure is. Find out how it is performed.
Reasons For Chemical Stress Test
Reasons For
Find out why and when this procedure should be done.
Chemical Stress Test Complications
Learn about possible complications and what might increase the risk of them.
Chemical Stress Test Details
What to Expect
Find out how long it will take, what they will be doing and what to expect afterwards.
Chemical Stress Test Results
What are the next steps and other possible tests needed after you have received the results.
When to Contact Doctor about Chemical Stress Test
Call Your Doctor
What to look out for and when to call your doctor after a procedure has been done.

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Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Copyright ©2014 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved. Source: EBSCO