No particular group of individuals is specifically identified as unable to have a cardiac stress test, says NYU Langone Medical Center. People with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease must alert their doctors to their condition, and people with diabetes should have a glucose monitor at the test.
Pregnant women and people planning to travel out of the country within two weeks should notify the doctor who orders the cardiac chemical stress test, notes Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital. People taking oral asthma medications, beta blockers and oral nitroglycerin medications should consult their doctor, who may advise discontinuing the medications for hours or days before the test.
A cardiac chemical stress test may cause complications such as chest pain, labored breathing, heartbeat irregularities and, in rare cases, heart attacks, according to NYU Langone Medical Center. Technicians monitor the test closely in case complications arise, and a cardiologist stands by to assist if necessary.
A traditional stress test is used to make sure the heart can function properly when it has to work harder, explains NYU Langone Medical Center. A chemical stress test is used for people who are physically unable to ride a stationary bike or use a treadmill. Various chemicals are injected into the patient's body to artificially make the heart work harder, and then doctors use devices such as echocardiograms and magnetic resonance imagers to examine the heart.