What is the physiologic basis of pharmacologic stress testing for cardiac assessment?

Updated: Nov 20, 2018
  • Author: Richard S Krause, MD; Chief Editor: Barry E Brenner, MD, PhD, FACEP  more...
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Pharmacologic stress testing differs from exercise testing in that it does not rely on the patient's own ability to increase cardiac oxygen demand. Rather, the patient can remain at rest while the heart's response to a drug is measured. The most widely available pharmacologic agents for stress testing are dipyridamole (Persantine), adenosine, regadenoson (Lexiscan), and dobutamine. The adenosine analog regadenoson has a longer half-life than adenosine; this allows for a simpler bolus versus continuous administration.

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