Echo Stress Tests
Exercise stress echocardiogram is a test performed to evaluate your heart’s function and pattern of heart rate during activity. It is indicated to check your heart’s tolerance to activity, assess the effectiveness of cardiac treatment and determine if you have coronary artery disease (CAD). Exercise stress echocardiogram uses sound waves to produce images of your heart activity while you exercise or while given medications that simulates stress on the heart.
A resting echocardiogram will be done first. You will be asked to lie down; a special gel is applied on your chest and a transducer (device which sends ultrasound waves to your heart) is placed on your chest. This gives the baseline measurements when your heart is at rest. Your doctor then fixes electrodes attached to a monitor on your chest, which shows your hearts electrical activity. You will be asked to exercise on a treadmill as in a standard exercise stress test, or you will be given medications which stress the heart. A second echocardiogram is then performed at peak exercise.
The risks involved in this procedure are very low; however, very rarely, the procedure may be associated with irregular heartbeat, fainting, chest pain or heart attack. Your doctor will monitor you continuously throughout the procedure.