Athletic Heart Q&A
Athletes do have special needs when it comes to cardiac testing. Our expertise in that regards differentiates us as the premiere sports cardiology clinic for the San Francisco Bay Area.
You may wish to read this article recently published by Dr. Accad on the topic.
For screening youth and young adults under age 35, our standard package includes the 12-lead ECG and echocardiogram, but we also recommend the optional treadmill stress test. The stress test may detect congenital anomalies of the coronary arteries and will also check overall cardiopulmonary fitness and give clues as to the presence of lung disease. However, if budget is a concern, the screening without the stress test will identify many congenital heart conditions detectable by non-invasive means.
Any man over 40 and any post-menopausal woman should at least consider the coronary health starter kit. Some people with a strong family history of coronary disease may wish to obtain this kit at an earlier age. For adults interested in screening that goes beyond simple detection of coronary disease, we recommend our in-depth screening package for adults, which will attempt to detect all kinds of cardiovascular conditions, such as cardiomyopathy and disorders of the heart rhythm.
People with high blood pressure concerns should consider the high blood pressure management program.
If you currently have symptoms (chest pain, palpitations, fainting spells, unusual shortness of breath), we recommend that you start with a cardiology consultation, or that you check with your physician first. A consultation is also advisable if you have preexisting cardiac disease and wish to discuss your exercise regimen.
You may also wish to start with a consultation if you are a seasoned endurance athlete and would like to discuss concerns about the potential consequences of long-term ultra-endurance sports on the heart (atrial fibrillation, fibrosis, etc.), as well as establish a monitoring routine.
If you are scheduled for a stress test, we recommend that your last heavy meal be at least 3 hours before your scheduled appointment. You may have a light meal one hour before your appointment. Beverages, including tea and coffee, are OK anytime before your appointment.
Out of respect for those scheduled after you, we ask you to arrive promptly on-time. If you are delayed more than 10 minutes, we reserve the right to re-schedule your session.
Our ECG technician will brief you about the procedure and connect you to the equipment. The stress test is conducted by Dr. Accad and takes about 20 minutes to complete. The stress test is graded, which means that it starts slow-and-easy, and progressively gets harder. We constantly monitor your tolerance to the effort and never go beyond what you can reasonably sustain. Expect to break a sweat but don’t worry, we provide clean towels and cool drinks at the completion of the test.
The session ends with Dr. Accad reviewing all the findings with you and showing you the ultrasound images on screen. Any questions are addressed leisurely at this point. For folks in the appropriate age category, part of the discussion focuses on coronary disease prevention in light of your individual findings and situation.
You go home with a copy of your ECG and a DVD copy of your echocardiogram which you can see at home or share with other physicians. Finalized reports are mailed to you after all the measurements have been carefully reviewed and verified. For those who have selected Package B, an additional 15-minute follow-up phone conversation may be scheduled after other out-of-office tests (e.g., lab work, coronary calcium scan) are available for review.
We believe the risk in our setting to be much lower, especially as we begin the session with a thorough cardiac history, physical, ECG, and echocardiogram, and our cardiologist is on site conducting the test. In many aspects, we surpass the recommendations for safe stress testing established by the American Heart Association.
Furthermore, if one is to have a cardiac complication during exercise, it stands to reason that a medical office is a better setting for such an occurrence, as compared to the park or the trail.
- $65 if you cancel your appointment 12 to 48 hours prior to the scheduled time of your visit.
- $95 if you cancel your appointment less than 12 hours prior to the scheduled time of your visit.
We kindly request full payment on the day of testing. We accept Visa, MasterCard or American Express credit cards.