Blaine Krusor, Cardiac Stress Test Expert

Blaine KrusorBlaine Krusor has an MBA from Albers School of Business and Economics at Seattle University, a BSN from the Department of Allied Health & Nursing at Creighton University, and a BS from the College of Health and Science at Iowa State University of Science & Technology. Blaine is currently the clinical marketing manager of the Cardiac Science Corporation. Some of his past positions include cardiac rhythm management area trainer of the Pacemaker and Defibrillator Division at Boston Scientific, regional therapy consultant of the Pacemaker and Defibrillator Division at Guidant Co., and stress testing department supervisor with Heart and Vascular Care.

Blaine's certification in the field of cardiology includes NASPExAM from the Hearth Rhythm Society, as well as MBA, BLS, and ACLS certification.

How did you become interested in the field of cardiac stress testing?
Through college classes and internships in cardiac rehabilitation. Also, I’ve always participated in sports and exercise. This eventually led me to a cardiology focus.

Why is stress testing important?
Early identification of cardiac disease and rhythm abnormalities is extremely important, especially considering the increasing at risk US aging population. The stress testing technology is sound and relatively cost effective, if used appropriately.

Who should take a stress test?
Individuals who are at risk for coronary heart disease are clearly individuals who should consider cardiac stress testing. Those with a family history of heart disease are particularly in a high-risk category. Also, individuals who are being screened for pre-employment for jobs that require a high degree of physical activity should consider undergoing stress testing.

Are there any significant risks involved with taking a cardiac stress test?
No, but there is a small chance of cardiac arrhythmias. This is why cardiac stress testing should always be performed under experienced medical supervision.

Are there any preparatory steps one should take prior to completing a stress test?
Yes, there are a number of steps. The most important step is making sure the patient has tapered down all beta blocker medication two days prior to testing. Therefore the patient will be able to reach the heart rate increase needed ensure that the stress test is diagnostic. Each cardiologist will have their own set of instructions.

Approximately how long does it take for a person to complete a stress test?
A traditional treadmill stress test takes roughly 1 hour. The duration also depends on the type of stress test (nuclear, dobutamine, FDG scan) the patient is undergoing. Nuclear stress tests can take up to four hours.

There are a wide variety of at-home stress tests available on the market for consumers to purchase. Do you recommend a specific model or brand?
I’m not aware of any medically recommended at-home cardiac stress test. This would be medically and legally irresponsible. Tests that are designed for medical diagnosis should be monitored and interpreted by trained medical professionals.

What is the most critical piece of advice you can offer to a person who wishes to take a stress test?
Be prepared for moderate to heavy exertion and understand the importance of the test results. The patient should also understand that cardiac stress tests are not 100% accurate. Depending on the type of stress test, there is always small chance of having a normal result in presence of coronary artery disease. However, cardiac stress testing is an effective noninvasive medical technology that is also very cost effective and limits patient risk. Stress testing has saved many lives.

For more information on cardiac stress tests, please read our Stress Test Guide. To find a stress test provider, please visit the Stress Test Directory.


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