Pictured: Members of the stress test team at MMC from left to right: Cyndi Belanger, Rob Jones, and Melissa Kryzych.
Memorial Medical Center Expands Testing for Heart Conditions
Ashland, WI — Memorial Medical Center (MMC) recently expanded its heart health stress test services in the Cardiopulmonary Services department by designating skilled nurse Cyndi Belanger, BAN, RN as a trained Stress Test Supervisor. This advanced training allows Cyndi to focus solely on conducting tests for anyone who may be referred by a provider to get a heart health test. Any doctor can refer a patient to have this test done at MMC, even if they do not have a practice in Ashland. A doctor might order a stress test if there are any symptoms of cardiac problems like chest pains, or shortness of breath.
The test usually involves walking on a treadmill while a supervisor monitors heart rhythm, blood pressure, and breathing patterns to see how the heart functions during physical activity. An in-house physician will provide remote on-call services during the testing process. People who cannot exercise can be given medicine that creates the effects of exercise inside the body. Stress testing can be performed with or without Nuclear Medicine imaging. During this type of test, small amounts of a radioactive tracer is injected into the body to obtain 3D images of the blood flow in the heart to check for potential blockages. These images are performed by MMC Nuclear Medicine Technologist, Melissa Krzych. Results from the tests are read by a cardiologist and sent back to the provider, who will discuss options and review the next steps for care.
Stress testing at MMC is not a new service, however, having a trained stress test supervisor has decreased the time for scheduling tests and obtaining tests. This updated, streamlined process allows for faster diagnosing of potential heart problems and more timely interventions. It also provides ease of mind and less anxiety for patients by reducing the wait time for results.
“We are now able to conduct up to 25 stress tests per week”, says Rob Jones, Director of Cardiopulmonary Services of MMC. “I am proud to be able to promote this expanded service and competence of our Respiratory Therapy team here at MMC. It’s so important to the health of our community to know there is no drive to Duluth required, and no more waiting for weeks before they can get the testing and care they need if they’re having heart problems. Essentially, if a doctor orders a stress test, patients can call MMC and schedule one right away. Once the patient has the test results, they can see a cardiologist if needed, and hopefully prevent or treat heart conditions before they turn into long-term, adverse effects.”
MMC is currently accepting referrals for stress testing. If a heart health test is waiting to be scheduled or needs to be done soon, patients can ask their provider about having it done quickly and close to home. Find out more about all of the MMC services available at ashlandmmc.com/services.