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      Portage Health Hospital offers alternative stress test

      Stress tests at the doctors can be a pain.

      Portage Health Hospital in Hancock now offers an exercise-free test that pumps up your heart rate without making you break into a sweat. The goal is to detect any artery blockage in the heart, much like a standard stress.

      The procedure starts as any other echo test. "We do a regular echo looking at all the structures, valves, blood flow, all of that," Cardiac Sonographer Gregory Lesatz said.

      Then doctors speed up the patient's heart rate.

      "We use this medication to speed up their heart rate much like exercise would, and we try to get the patient's heart rate up to a certain target where we know that the oxygen demand is high enough," Lesatz said. Doctors examine the oxygen flow on the ultrasound to determine if blockage is present.

      "If the muscle is unable to get that oxygen because of a blockage in one of the arteries then we TMll be able to see a change on the pictures," Lesatz said.

      Or if you're fit for exercise and want to go the traditional route, you can always hop on the treadmill for three to 10 minutes and get your results. "This is for patients who aren TMt really able to exercise; more often than not they're patients who are going to be going into surgery," Lesatz said. Doctors know even the strongest muscle in the body could use a little help.