Why Do You Have to be NPO for a Stress Test?

NPO stands for: Nothing to eat/drink after the midnight, the night before & until the test is finished. Firstly, the stress test is helpful in understanding the rhythm of the heart of a person. The aim is to check whether the heart is receiving the same amount of oxygen and nutrients while it is at rest and when under pressure.

Cardiologists and primary health care providers prescribe middle-aged men and people with a record of heart ailments for the test. In several cases, the doctors prescribe it based on the age of the individual, the symptoms displayed, and family history of heart attacks.

Why Do You Have to be NPO for a Stress Test?

Why Do You Have to be NPO for a Stress Test?

Now that your doctor prescribed you for the stress test, there are certain things that you will have to know before you step onto the inclined treadmill or the stationary bicycle. The reason for such a test is to check whether you are suffering from any coronary artery diseases. It will also help whether the treatment prescribed by the doctor is functioning as it should be to reduce stress on the heart. The information gathered through the test will be useful in preparing exercises that are safe for the body and the heart.

Irrespective of the cases, the following are the important factors to keep in mind to become an NPO before participating in the stress test.

  • NPO 1: Skipping a meal – The priority for the stress test is to omit a meal. Getting onto the treadmill on an empty stomach is vital. According to cardiologists, the fullness makes it difficult to perform the stress test, while it is possible to participate actively for an extended period when on an empty stomach. Maintain at least three hours of a gap before taking the stress test.
  • NPO 2: Understanding medicines – Not all the medicines are advisable for consumption even for a regular patient, as certain medicines act as a wall and lead to abnormal heart rhythm. Doctors often prescribe their patients to keep away from beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, and nitroglycerin medicines. All these contents either increase or slow down the heart rate. For asthmatic patients, bringing inhaler is preferable.
  • NPO 3: Stay away from caffeine – As you are participating in the stress test, avoiding caffeine is highly advisable. You should keep away for as long as 24 hours before stepping onto the treadmill for the stress test. Caffeine content increases the heartbeat and blood pressure. Due to the risk of increasing the irregular heartbeat, doctors ask their patients to keep away from caffeine and coffee. Other products include tea, carbonated beverages, tea, and chocolates. You should also avoid diet pills and over-the-counter drugs.
  • NPO 4: Exercises – Even though you do not head the gym regularly, giving a thought about participating in a few activities before the stress test will be helpful. The case is useful for patients with a sedentary lifestyle. They cannot climb the treadmill and begin running immediately. Therefore, including a few activities, which the body can tolerate, is a good option.
  • NPO 5: Diabetes – Diabetes is different and patients suffering from the same should speak with their doctor regarding the dosage levels. Do not take the medicine or skip a meal without notifying your doctor. Depending on the medication and the condition of the diabetes, the doctor will cut down the dosage level and asks you to consume a small meal with at least a gap of four hours before the stress test. You can carry along the glucose monitor to test the same before and after the stress test. After taking the stress test, you can have your regular meal and medication.

Keep these essential elements in your mind to be an NPO before participating actively in a stress test.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:July 10, 2018

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