Stress Echo

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What is a Stress Echocardiogram (Echo)?
A stress echocardiogram is a non-invasive test that combines two tests--a treadmill stress test and an echocardiogram (ECHO). This test is used to see how the heart muscle contracts during rest and during exercise. A stress echo is made up of three parts: a resting echo study, a stress test, and a repeat echo while the heart is beating fast.

How is a Stress Echo Performed?
The test takes from 30-60 minutes. Prior to exercising, an echocardiogram is done by applying colorless gel to the chest and placing the echo transducer on top of it. You will also wear a blood pressure cuff to allow blood pressure monitoring. Recordings will then be taken from different parts of the chest to obtain several views of the heart. An echocardiogram is done again at peak heart rate by having the patient walk on a treadmill starting out very slowly but gradually increasing the speed and incline. Your blood pressure will be taken at each change. The patient will exercise from a few minutes up to 15 minutes depending upon his level of ability. The test will be stopped if the patient becomes too tired or has any symptoms such as chest pain. The cardiologist will be looking for changes in the EKG pattern and any symptoms that the patient may experience. At the peak of exercise, the treadmill will be stopped, and the patient will be instructed to lie down immediately on a bed so that a second echocardiogram can be taken to visualize the heart's motion with exercise. The resting echocardiogram done before the exercise and the stress echocardiogram done during exercise will be compared and analyzed.