I had my Nuclear, or Thallium, stress test on Monday. The whole test took about 4 hours and the staff at Winthrop Cardiology Associates couldn't have been nicer or more professional.
For the exercise part of the test they had me hooked up to an electrocardiogram and wearing a blood pressure cuff. The goal was to get me around 80-90% of my estimated maximum heart rate, which they calculated using the old fashioned and somewhat dubious 220 minus your age formula. I am 50, so that puts my estimated max around 170, and my target for the test around 136-153. I am not sure, not having done a max heart rate test recently, that my actual max is higher. My training is based on percentage of functional threshold power on the bike and pace on the track.
My resting heart rate is around 58, and measured 60 at the start of the test. I beleive my blood pressure was 130/50, not exactly sure of that. The physician assistant raised the incline and started the treadmill and i walked. The plan was to increase incline and speed every three minutes until i cried uncle. At that point they woudl inject the isotope through my IV, then have me stop and rest a bit before more photos.
I got up to about 4.2 miles per hour at a 16% grade before they stopped me. I could have continued, but my blood pressure had risen to 214/90. They seemed concerned by this. My heart rate was 150, or about 90%, so technically the test was completed.
Results came back to my primary care doc, who had his nurse call me to say everything was fine. I asked her about the blood pressure issue. She had no idea what I was talking about, so I asked to have the doc call me back. Later in the day we connected and he took a little more time to read the report. While my blood pressure is usually perfect when i am sitting still, apparently I am about ready to pop 6 days a week when i am doing my interval training.
For now I am doubling my Diovan HCT dosage and have an appointment to discuss in a couple of weeks. Still good to train as far as I can tell.
Oh one intersting thing, when i was in the scanner machine, its kind of like a MRI machine that lowers over you and slowly turns as it takes pictures, makes some noises but not as loud as an MRI. I actually was able to take a nap in that thing both times, 15 minutes each. I think thats the perfect amount of time for a power nap. Need to work that in somewhere.