A patient is undergoing cardiac stress testing at a rehabilitation center. During the test, the nurse notes that the patient becomes short of breath and his blood pressure drops from 130/80 mmHg to 98/58 mmHg. Which action of the nurse is most appropriate?


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- Stop the stress test immediately

- Continue to monitor the patients blood pressure and continue the stress testing

- Have the patient take a break for 5 minutes before resuming the test

- Administer a cardiac glycoside medication such as Digoxin


A cardiac stress test may be performed as an outpatient procedure to determine whether the patients heart can tolerate exercise or other stressors. If the patient develops symptoms of illness during the test, it can indicate that his heart is not tolerating the test well. In this case, with the drop in blood pressure in addition to shortness of breath, the nurse should stop the stress test and evaluate the patient.

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