Thursday, September 20, 2007
Alliance offers new stress test
By SUE WATSON
Alliance HealthCare System is now scheduling appointments at the hospital for coronary artery disease using modern radiologic techniques - the nuclear medicine stress test.
The technique has been available since August. It is conducted on Thursdays at the hospital but will be available on two Wednesdays a month beginning in November, according to Terry Leeks, director of radiology and licensed for the nuclear stress test, mammography, ultrasound and other procedures.
Leeks said primary care physicians prescribe the test for clients who present with chest pain symptoms.
“The primary care physician orders the stress test primarily to look for cardiac ischemia (insufficient blood flow) in the coronary arteries,” Leeks said. “This test determines if ischemia is present at rest or only during stress (exercise).”
The stress test results are interpreted by a certified nuclear cardiologist and sent back to the primary care physician who then decides what plan of action to suggest to the patient.
If the stress test indicates coronary artery disease - narrowing of the arteries to the heart by build-up of fatty materials - the primary care physician may recommend the patient see a cardiologist, Leeks said.
“We’re just excited about being able to offer this service to our customers - physicians and patients,” Leeks said.
The service is available on Thursdays through October. The stress test can be administered to eight clients a day, Leeks said.
“This also provides convenient local diagnostic procedures for the Alliance Hospital service area,” she said.
Patients who are able to walk on the treadmill long enough to reach the target heart rate will use that form of exercise. If not, the primary care physician will order the pharmacologic stress option - drug-induced heart stimulation, Leeks said.
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