What is a Stress Echo?
To begin with, you lie on an exam couch while we perform an Echocardiogram, which is an ultrasound of your heart. Then you will be asked to walk on a treadmill with several sensors attached to your chest which measure how your heart rate and rhythm respond. After exercising, you’ll quickly return to the exam couch where we’ll perform another Echocardiogram.
We then compare the results from before and after exercise to see how your heart function has responded to stress.
Why do I need a Stress Echo?
Your doctor may recommend a Stress Echo if they suspect you may have a heart problem such as coronary artery disease.
You may need a Stress Echo if you are experiencing:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
You may also need a Stress Echo if you had an ECG or Echocardiogram with abnormal results and need further examination.
What can I expect?
A Stress Echo takes around 45 minutes and you will be required to walk briskly/run on a treadmill.
You’ll be supervised by a doctor, who will stop the test if they feel it is appropriate.
To prepare for the test, please:
- Wear clothing and shoes suitable for exercise
- Do not eat, smoke or drink alcohol for a least 1-2 hours before the test
- Do not consume caffeine (such as tea, coffee, cola or chocolate) for 24 hours before the test
- If you use an inhaler to help with breathing, bring it with you
You may also be asked to stop taking medications such as beta blockers, diltiazem or verapamil 48 hrs before the day of your test.