James Kim, MD
Cardiologist & Board Certified in Cardiovascular Diseases located in National City, CA & Chula Vista, CA
If you have chest pain, shortness of breath, or other signs of a heart health problem, you might need diagnostic stress testing. Fellowship-trained cardiologist James Kim, MD, offers stress testing from the convenience of his practice in National City and Chula Vista, California. If you need a stress test or expert cardiovascular health care, call or make an appointment online today.
Stress Testing Q & A
What is stress testing?
A stress test is a diagnostic test that evaluates your heart function while it's under stress. Stress testing is safe and noninvasive.
Physical activity elevates your heart rate, making your heart work harder and faster. Measuring your heart function while it's working hard can help diagnose issues such as reduced blood flow in or to your heart.
Why do I need stress testing?
Dr. Kim often recommends stress testing to help diagnose the cause of symptoms like chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, or an abnormal heart rhythm. It's a valuable tool to identify cardiovascular health problems like:
- Coronary artery disease
- Atrial fibrillation
- Atherosclerosis (narrowed arteries)
- Abnormal electrical activity
Dr. Kim also uses stress testing to monitor the effectiveness of your treatment plan.
How should I prepare for stress testing?
Dr. Kim provides personalized instructions on how to prepare for your stress test. In general, he asks that you avoid smoking, eating, or drinking for a few hours before your test. Dr. Kim might also request that you stop taking certain medications a few days before your stress test.
On the day of your stress testing, you should wear comfortable clothing and shoes as you will walk on a treadmill or use a stationary bike.
The test is noninvasive, so you can drive yourself to and from your appointment, and you won't need to take time off to recover.
What happens during stress testing?
Stress testing takes around an hour. When you arrive, Dr. Kim reviews your medical history and details about your everyday exercise habits. Then, he attaches sticky electrodes to your chest, arms, and legs. He also attaches a blood pressure cuff.
When the test begins, you start to walk on a treadmill or pedal a stationary bike, gradually increasing the intensity until you reach your peak heart rate or can’t continue.
The electrodes pick up the electrical impulses in your heart and heart rate. The data is recorded so Dr. Kim can review it later and keep a copy in your health records.
Depending on your needs, you might have an echocardiogram during your stress test to create images of your heart while it's working hard. If you can't exercise due to a health condition or injury, Dr. Kim can provide a medication that temporarily increases your heart rate.
When your stress test is complete, Dr. Kim removes the electrodes and you schedule a follow-up appointment to discuss your results and next steps.
For expert stress testing, call the office of James Kim, MD, or schedule an appointment online today.