EKG stress tests are important diagnostic tests for identifying coronary heart disease. The stress tests have not changed that much but what has changed are a number of key elements to improve the machinery’s ability to record and generate valuable insight into the patients health.
With technological developments comes flexibility for the technology and particularly helpful to the EKG stress test system. Medical practitioners have a lot more freedom to use the machinery that suits them and the patients rather operations being dictated by the constraints of the machines. The large heavy machines have now become smaller and far more portable either available as wall mounted solution or an easy to maneuver wheeled arrangement. The flexibility has brought new found options in optimizing the space to achieve improved results in the stress test.
Where computers being used were once large room consuming machines they are now laptop sized machines with swiveling monitors for easy inspection of the real time data. The smaller computers aid in making these tests far more available. Computer now will not be limited to just an exercise ECG but also will include and manage multiple cardiopulmonary modalities such as resting ECG and Holter.
Software has also improved with doctors being able to easily manage and track data in a system, saving time and improving analysis of data. Improvements in software flexability and hardware have meant that settings and options have increased and while the data is similar to what has been collected the ability to manipulate preferences has given valuable insight into the data. Other improvements enable doctors and medical practitioners to identify other related diseases and issues related to the hearts performance during the test. The live update on the hearts performance and other data can prove to be extremely valuable to then identify the risk of suffering from a sudden cardiac arrest. The software also can detect every-other-beat patterns which is a unique pattern found in each patient’s heart beat. Other issues that the software can now identify are arrhythmias, thrombolysis, heart rate variability and signal-averaged ECG.
The technical standards have improved from simple cords and wires being attached to the Patient. This arrangement does not simply bother patients but effects the records being collected. With the advent of wireless technology there is no need to worry about the wires. The patients with the technology can now exercise free of wires in the way and the pull from the connection of a computer. Wireless connections have changed the location of the tests. A small room can house the computer and the patient can exercise in comfort in an adjoining room.
Cables have improved and have become far more lightweight and wireless technologies can improve motion artifacts and background noise which leads to better testing environments and recording accuracy. One method of improving results with these developments is form-fitting wires that while part of the process are very light minimizing the discomfort and issues with having wires near a patient during the stress tests. The lightweight natures of these wires are a great improvement from the heavy wires before these developments. Patients would be tired from carrying the wires and the test were shorter minimizing the amount of data and the overall effectiveness of the test. Small wireless transmitters are trapped to the patient giving complete freedom of movement alleviating the strain of the wires and improving results.
The future will bring a greater amount of digitization of medical data and while the running test on the treadmill will remain the same, software will allow further collaboration between results and other records to improve analysis, results and prognosis.