Cardiac Stress Testing Lab

What is a Cardiac Stress Testing Lab?Heart

The Stress Lab is comprised of a multidisciplinary team including physicians, nurses, radiology technicians, and respiratory therapists. Patients are referred to the lab to determine the cause, risk assessment and outlook associated with various forms of heart disease by performing exercise stress tests or wearing external cardiac monitors. Typical symptoms requiring service in the stress lab include: chest pain; unexplained shortness of breath; unexplained arm, neck, back or jaw discomfort;  fatigue or weakness; palpitations; dizziness; fainting episodes; valvular heart disease and heart failure

What is an Exercise Stress Test?

An exercise stress test, also known as a stress test, provides information about how your heart works during physical activity. Your heart beats faster and harder during exercise helping your physician diagnose heart problems he may not see otherwise. For those patients who are unable to physically exercise, a medication known as Lexiscan can be given to increase the heart rate similarly to exercise.

West River Health Services offers three types of stress tests.

Stress Lab Services:                                         

    This exercise stress test involves walking on a treadmill while having your blood pressure and breathing monitored. Fasting is not required, but it is recommended you do not eat or drink anything two hours prior to your test. Please ask your physician if you need to stop any of your medications before your stress test.
    This exercise stress test starts in the Nuclear Medicine department. You will have an IV placed and receive a Cardiolite injection in your bloodstream. After your injection, you will have pictures taken of your heart at rest. These images are important to see the bloodflow to your heart at rest and will be compared with your images taken after exercise. You will then walk on a treadmill with a goal of increasing your heart rate and blood pressure. When you have achieved your predetermined heart rate, you will receive another injection of Cardiolite in your blood stream. Because exercise opens up the arteries in your heart, a second set of images will be taken in the Nuclear Medicine department after your exercise stress test is complete. These images can show areas of low blood flow through the heart and damaged heart muscle. The radiologist will compare the images and your physician will call you with the results of your stress test. This stress test requires fasting for at least seven hours including all foods and fluids and 24 hours of all caffeine. Please ask your physician if you need to stop any of your medications before your stress test.

    This exercise stress test is the same as the Cardiolite stress test except instead of exercise increasing your heartrate and blood pressure, you receive medicine. This medicine is called Lexiscan. Lexiscan is given as an injection through your IV into your bloodstream. Immediately following this injection you will receive the second dose of Cardiolite.


Referrals for testing

A physician’s order is required for any service offered in the Stress Lab. For further information or assistance, please call your primary care provider or our Stress Lab at 701-567-6345.  Medicare and commercial insurances are accepted and cover most or all of the costs for prescribed services. We encourage you to contact your insurance provider regarding your benefits and coverage before scheduling.


Melinda Dalley, RN
Cardiac Stress Testing Lab Coordinator
Monday - Friday