COVID-19 notwithstanding, heart disease is still the No. 1 cause of death among Americans. Consequently, it’s as important as ever to adopt preventive strategies such as making healthy lifestyle choices and detecting problems early. Happily, identifying heart issues just got easier for Trinity Health patients in Minot and Williston.
Trinity Health Foundation recently completed a fund drive to assist Trinity’s Cardiology department in acquiring new cardiac stress testing equipment. The purchase has enabled the department to expand stress testing in Minot and add the service to Trinity Community Clinic – Western Dakota in Williston.
“This early interventional tool for providers and patients will benefit our region by promoting better cardiovascular health for patients,” said Al Evon, director of Trinity Health Foundation. “We thank everyone who contributed to this effort.”
Tessah Richardson, director of Trinity Health – Western Dakota, said, “We are grateful to be able to provide this service to our patients. Stress testing in a rural setting will allow us to enhance our patient care.”
Sometimes called a treadmill test, a cardiac stress test helps a doctor find out how well one’s heart can handle work or exercise by monitoring a patient while he or she is using a treadmill. The test helps diagnose heart disease caused by plaque deposits in the arteries supplying blood to the heart and is among cardiologists’ most powerful tools in the diagnosis and treatment of coronary heart disease.
“A cardiac stress test is considered the universal starting point for assessing a patient’s cardiac health, providing the first indication of a problem that otherwise might be overlooked,” said Darren Armstrong, director of Therapy Services for Trinity Health. “This testing gives physicians exceptional accuracy and interpretation of real-time critical data, which guides clinical decisions and helps plan the next steps in the patient’s treatment.”
Newly installed in Trinity’s Minot and Williston clinics is a Q-Stress Cardiac Stress Testing system, a product of Welch Allyn. Considered the gold standard in stress testing, the Q-Stress system has an intuitive touchscreen design that allows for a smoother exam. It also offers better comfort and freedom of movement for the patient.
“It’s a more user-friendly and patient-friendly approach to stress testing,” Armstrong said. “The greatest impact is that we’ll be able to detect and diagnose heart conditions faster and with greater accuracy.”
Q-Stress Cardiac Stress Testing System provides comprehensive clinical information about a patient’s heart, from routine exams to complex cardiac evaluations. According to the American Heart Association, a physician may recommend a stress test to:
- Diagnose coronary artery disease
- Diagnose the cause of symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, or lightheadedness
- Determine a safe level of exercise
- Check the effectiveness of procedures performed to improve coronary artery circulation
- Predict risk of dangerous heart-related conditions such as heart attack
A doctor’s referral is required before one can undergo a stress test.
“Timely access to a cardiovascular stress test can identify narrowing or blockages of coronary arteries, increasing the opportunity for the early diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease and atherosclerosis,” said Armstrong, noting it is also a key to diagnosing cardiac abnormalities in adults, adolescents, and children.
When it comes to detecting and treating heart disease before complications become serious, a stress test can make the difference between life and death. “Fortunately, we are staged to have two very reliable platforms in both communities for years to come,” Armstrong added.