The Stress Echo test is a combination of the Exercise Stress test and an Echocardiogram. Similarly to the EST, this test is designed to evaluate ischemic changes in your heart in case of suspected coronary artery diseases; however it is much more accurate than a regular Stress test. The Echocardiogram is performed before and after walking on a treadmill, showing differences in the wall movement of your heart before and after exercise. If you have blockages in your coronary arteries, (which are supplying your heart muscle) it will be seen on the Echocardiogram as an abnormal motion of the heart walls.
The physician might order the Stress Echo test if you complain of chest pain, tightness or pressure in chest area, upper back pain (especially if it reflects to the left side of the body or left shoulder and arm, or to the neck and jaw), shortness of breath with or without activity, dizzy spells, or chronic fatigue. It might be also recommended if you are experiencing irregular heartbeats, very fast or slow heartbeats, palpitations, unusual throbbing or fluttering sensations in the heart. This test is very effective for the patients after an infarction and stroke in order to control the state of coronary vessels after angioplasty or bypass surgery.
Preparation for the Procedure
Wear comfortable clothing and running (or flat) shoes. Do not consume tea, coffee or Coca-Cola 2 hours prior your appointment. Do not forget to bring your health card and a list of medications with you.
Our technologist will prepare your skin and attach electrodes on your chest area to connect you to the computer. The resting echocardiogram will be done first by our sonographer. You will lie on the bed and a gel will be placed on your chest to help transmit the sound waves and a transducer (a unit that directs sound waves) will be moved over your chest. After that, you will be asked to walk on the treadmill (see Exercise Stress test). When the peak of exercise is reached, you have to rush to the bed and lie in the same position for the second portion of echocardiogram. This test involves no pain. A typical test takes about 45 to 60 minutes.
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