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Stress Echocardiogram

in the Non-Invasive Testing Department

Stress Echocardiogram Test

A Stress Echo Test is a non-invasive combination of a Cardiac Stress Test and an Echocardiogram.

Frequently Asked Questions about Stress Echocardiogram Tests

Why is a Stress Echo Test done?

Common reasons for ordering a Stress Echo Test include:

  • To assess the heart's overall pumping function
  • To assess the degree of known heart valve disease
  • To evaluate your cardiac health prior to surgery
What is involved in preparation?
  • If needed, eat a light meal prior to the test
  • No caffeine or decaffeinated beverages (coffee, tea, etc.) 3 hours prior to the test
  • Do not apply any lotions, powders or oils to your skin the day of testing
  • Wear comfortable clothes and walking or athletic shoes
  • Based on your medical condition, your doctor may request other specific preparation
What is expected once I arrive for my Stress Echo Test?
  • Once you check in at the reception desk in Suite 3A, a cardiac technician will come to get you at your appointment time.
  • A technician will then take Echo pictures of your heart while at rest.
  • The cardiac technician will explain the test and have you answer a few questions. You will be asked to remove any jewelry or other objects that may interfere with the test. You may wear your glasses, dentures or hearing aids if you use any of these.
  • You will be asked to remove clothing from the waist up and will be given a gown to wear.
  • You will be connected to an electrocardiogram (ECG) monitor that records the electrical activity of your heart and monitors your heart during the test using small electrodes that stick to your skin. Your vital signs (heart rate, blood pressure and breathing rate) will be monitored during the test. You will then be asked to recline on a stretcher.
  • The cardiac sonographer, who performs the echo portion of the test, will place gel and a transducer on your chest. (To find out more about what an echo is, click here). You will have images of your heart acquired before exercise and after exercise.
  • The cardiologist will be called into the room to begin the exam. There will be a cardiologist, cardiac technician and a cardiac sonographer in the room for the entire duration of the test.
  • The cardiologist will have you exercise on the treadmill gradually increasing the speed and incline of the treadmill every 3 minutes until you reach a predetermined target heart rate.
  • Once you have reached your target heart rate, the staff will have you quickly return to the bed and lie down on your side. This must be done quickly since the cardiac sonographer has less than 1 minute to acquire the echo images before your heart rate returns to normal.
When will I know the results of my Stress Echo Test?

The cardiologist in the room may be able to give you an overview of your results in the room, however, you will obtain final results from the doctor who ordered the test for you.

Results are generally available in your electronic medical record by the end of the day you received your test.

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