Question: When is a stress test necessary for evaluation of heart failure?
Answer: Well stress testing is usually performed for the assessment of coronary artery disease, if someone has chest discomfort to detect an abnormality or the suggestion of abnormality in the coronary blood vessels. It's also used frequently for heart failure. If patients come in with some vague shortness of breath or fatigability that seems out of proportion in what you'd encounter in day-to-day life.
A specialized form of stress testing where we measure the oxygen consumed by the body can tell us how much your heart is able to increase it's pumping function in response to the stress of exercise. And this can give us important information of whether the shortness of breath or fatigue is due to the heart, the blood vessels or the lungs in particular. So it's a very useful adjunct procedure.