What Does it Mean to Have A Negative Stress Test?

Exercise testing or stress testing has always remained a widely used yet a noninvasive type of test for determining the prognosis among patients with established or suspected coronary or heart problems. Being a screening test for CAD i.e. Coronary Artery Disease, the stress test is not only useful, but also is simple, easy and inexpensive. Particularly, the stress test has proved to be beneficial for all patients suffering from the syndromes of chest pain and have a moderate probability towards the CAD problems. In addition, the stress test is helpful for patients, who have normal ECG i.e. electrocardiogram.

Introduction to the Stress Test

Stress test or TMT test refers to an exercise-based stress test. This stress test collects the valuable pieces of information about the exact function of the patients’ heart whenever they involve in running, walking, riding a bike/bicycle, walking on treadmill or do any other physical activity. Since exercise helps in pumping of one’s heart at relatively hard yet faster rate than normal, the stress test is able to highlight problems prevailing in the heart, which doctors may not be able to notice in any other way. In simple words, in case of an exercise stress test, you have to walk on a treadmill while the analyst and/or the doctor monitor your heartbeat/rhythm, breathing and the blood pressure.

What Does it Mean to Have A Negative Stress Test?

It is a good thing to get a negative stress test. A negative stress test generally indicates that you do not have any coronary problems. Cardiac stress testing, exercise testing or simply stress testing constitutes the most significant element in the stratification of risk of various cardiac patients and prediction of heart problems (cardiac events) in the near future. However, the utility of the latest negative stress test remains limited when doctors use it for determination of the risk related to ACS i.e. Acute Coronary Syndrome in patients coming to the emergency area with angina symptoms. Almost every emergency department doctors have cared for cardiac arrest or ACS patients despite they have negative stress test recently. In fact, relatively higher reliance on negative stress tests has proved to be a common and a prime reason for improper or delay in the ACS patients’ diagnosis.

Doctors have come up with a retrospective chart review of various adult patients, who presented to the nearby community based hospital with a prime complain of chest pain, even though, they had inconclusive or negative stress test during their previous 3 years. In this case, doctors included different types of stress tests, such as treadmill echocardiogram, treadmill ECG analysis, treadmill nuclear-based study, pharmacological nuclear study, pharmacological echocardiogram and similar others.

Later on, these experts evaluated their patients to track any significant CAD i.e. Coronary Artery Disease in humans within the period of 30 days of their visits in the emergency department. Significant CAD indicates an acute form of myocardial infarction with positive type of cardiac biomarkers, positive stress test in subsequent form, cardiac catheterization that needs intervention, coronary artery bypass and graft surgeries and similar others.

Conclusion Drawn from the Negative Stress Test Analysis

Key point obtained from the complete study is simple and confirms about the anecdotal experience of various seasoned emergency physicians i.e. a latest negative stress test fails to exclude the issue of ACS in patients possessing angina symptoms. Despite cardiac tests available in the form of stress test, ECGs and coronary angiography are useful to stratify the risks; none of the stress tests has proved to be beneficial to stratify the risk of patients to zero. Hence, patients incorporating the medical history of the current illness, which strongly suggests the problem of acute coronary syndrome, should receive conservative treatment combined with repetitive work if required. In this way, negative stress test does not obviate the concern of heart patients in anyway.

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