Ask the doctor: Preventive stress tests?

Ask the doctor

Preventive stress tests?

Q. I haven't had such good luck with my heart — a heart attack ten years ago and angioplasty with two stents inserted last year. Would it make sense for me to have a yearly stress test? If I had been doing that after my heart attack, maybe my doctor would have seen the blockage and we could have done something about it earlier.

A. As long as you are free of chest pain, shortness of breath, and other symptoms that indicate heart disease, you don't need any type of stress test.

That's not only my opinion, and what I tell my patients, but a bare-bones summary of guidelines from the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association. The experts who put together these guidelines recommend stress testing after angioplasty only for individuals who develop new symptoms.

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