It is a test for the cardiological and functional assessment of the athlete. A sports medical examination at rest is still an assessment without physical exercise. A stress test attempts to assess as closely as possible the cardiovascular response to a programmed and controlled effort. The resting test would be a “photograph” of a moment, what the stress test would be a “video”. The two things added offer very complete information.
It allows studying the response of the heart and respiratory system to physical exercise. The heart rate, blood pressure, ventilation parameters, gases and power or speed are fundamentally evaluated, if symptoms or arrhythmias appear and the appearance of cardiac ischemia with exertion.
There are different protocols depending on the sport, category and sport modality.
It can be done in different ways: while walking on a treadmill that increases speed and / or the incline of the same progressively, or pedaling on a bicycle ergometer or cycle ergometer that increases your resistance during the test, or exercising Row on the rower, or up and down a step. At Global Medical Care we use a bicycle (cycle ergometer) because we control the workload very well and the images on the screen are much more stable.
It consists of three main phases:
Initially, a complete medical examination is performed at rest, with questions about personal and family medical history, mainly those of cardiovascular origin, habitual sports practice, toxic habits, nutritional habits, etc. Then a complete physical examination, a resting electrocardiogram, a stress spirometry, and a recording of constants and anthropometric data are performed. All this serves as a comparative element with the data obtained from the effort phase itself.
The athlete who has already been monitored from the previous phase places himself on the cycle ergometer and begins the progressive effort, where he has to maintain a pedaling cadence that is measured in watts. During the test, the heart rate, blood pressure and electrocardiogram tracing are analyzed at all times, and the workload can be modified at will, although it is normally predefined in load increments. The cycle ergometer works coordinated with the ergometry software and we can view the cardiac record, freeze and compare the images and data received. The test is stopped if warning signs or symptoms appear. Therefore, if you experience any discomfort during the test, you should inform the medical staff as soon as possible.
The test ends due to physical exhaustion of the athlete (maximum ergometries) or voluntarily when 80&percent; of physical capacity is usually reached (submaximal ergometries) or also, in exceptional cases, according to medical criteria if complications appear or it is suspected that they may appear.
In this phase the athlete continues to exercise although in a decreasing way to readjust his entire body towards rest. It is convenient to do so. As important as in the previous phases is to continue monitoring cardiovascular activity to evaluate this entire recovery phase.
At the end of the test, the athlete will receive a dossier in the form of a medical report with a complete summary of their electrocardiogram in each of the phases, their vital signs, the power achieved, oxygen consumption, etc. But the most important thing is that the specialist doctor will be able to clearly explain the result to you and will be able to solve all the doubts you may have, as well as give you advice on how to readjust your workouts, what nutritional requirements you need, if it is convenient to carry out more cardiological studies, etc.
Symptoms such as palpitations, dizziness, tiredness and / or leg cramps may appear. There may also be an increase or decrease in blood pressure, which will subside or disappear when physical activity stops.
Anginal chest pain, syncope and ventricular arrhythmias (which imply the termination of the test) and in exceptional cases a cardiac infarction and even death (the possibility of presenting this is exceptional in healthy athletes, but in heart disease it can be 1 case per 10,000 people who take this test). For this reason, it is mandatory to have prepared personnel, equipment and medication to be able to act if necessary. (cardiorespiratory arrest cart, monitoring, defibrillator, oxygen therapy, etc.)
In the days prior to the test, you will be given or sent a letter that is the informed consent for sports ergometry that must be completed and signed for the test, clearly explaining the test, the risks and the necessary preparation.
You should not eat, smoke, or drink beverages that contain caffeine or alcohol for three hours (or more) before the test.
Bring comfortable shoes and loose clothing to facilitate exercise and to be able to properly place the adhesive electrodes of the heart monitor.
For women, in addition to the above, it is recommended to wear a sports bra or, if you do not have one, one that is comfortable, that does not have underwires or other metallic elements that can interfere with the adhesive electrodes
It is also recommended to bring a medium towel for sweat that may appear during exercise
Ask your doctor if you should take any of your regular medications on the day of the exam. Some medications can interfere with the results of this one. Never stop taking any medicine without talking to your doctor first
Tell your doctor if you are taking sildenafil citrate (Viagra ©), Tadalafil (Cialis ©), or vardenafil (Levitra ©) and if you have taken a dose within the last 24 to 48 hours.
You will be asked to avoid caffeine for 24 hours before the test. This includes tea and coffee, all soft drinks including decaf, chocolate, and pain relievers that contain caffeine.
To carry out the test we need your total cooperation and peace of mind. If you have any pain, discomfort, doubt, or concern about it, tell your doctor first. He will help you calm down and you will be able to get better results from the effort.
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