imaging failed to show why Current was experiencing pain and an anxious feeling
her chest, her physician looked at the results of Current’s exercise stress
“The exercise stress test saved my life,” said Current.
Martha Gulati, Current’s physician, knew a cardiac catheterization
was needed based on the abnormal stress test. She recently authored a paper on
this topic, which was recently published in Current
Problems in Cardiology.
“Using imaging with stress testing is important and useful,
but it is often overused, exposing patients to unnecessary radiation and
driving up health care costs,” said Gulati,
director of preventive cardiology and women’s cardiovascular health at The Ohio
State University Wexner Medical Center. “In addition, even where imaging
is used, important information that comes from the exercise stress portion is
In cases where a patient can only perform the stress test
for a few minutes, they might need a different test to get the correct results,
so Gulati says it’s all about the using the right test for the right patient.
Stress tests are the most commonly ordered noninvasive test for coronary
heart disease, but traditionally, physicians look at one main variable, the
appearance of ST depressions on the electrocardiogram
(EKG). The ST segment is part of a normal EKG tracing. When it becomes
depressed with exercise, it may indicate coronary artery
disease. According to Ohio State researchers, other data obtained from
the stress test can also be valuable to a physician diagnosing heart disease.
Kavita Sharma, co-author of the review of the research, said exercise
capacity, heart rate, blood pressure response and chest pain are all examples
of other powerful data that can be obtained from an exercise stress test to
help identify coronary artery disease and even help predict risk of death.
“All this data is readily available on a traditional exercise stress
test. The interpreter just needs to fully examine it,” said Sharma,
assistant professor of clinical medicine at The Ohio State University Wexner
According to Gulati, stress tests can give physicians
important predictive information for patients, not just about their immediate
health or their current status of coronary disease, but also information that
might help predict their risk of developing heart disease in the future.
ti and Sharma hope their research
will help patients feel empowered to ask why a test is being ordered and ask if
it includes radiation to ensure the benefit outweighs the risk.
# # #
Contact: Gina Bericchia, Medical
Center Public Affairs & Media Relations, 614-293-3737 or Gina.Bericchia@osumc.edu