Stress echo or echocardiography stress test is helpful in understanding the functionality of the heart and the working condition of blood vessels. During the activity, you will be participating in an exercise, such as running on a treadmill at a specified speed while the doctor monitors the BP (blood pressure) and heart impulses.

When you are slowly reaching the peak levels, the doctor will opt for ultrasound images to determine whether the heart is receiving enough quantity of oxygen during exercise. It is also normal for the physician to ask you to undergo for the stress echo if you tell him/her that you have chest pain. It is because that coronary artery disease also causes similar output. The undertaking is further helpful in determining the amount of exercise that you can participate or that the body can tolerate. The stress echo test is suitable for people who are in cardiac rehabilitation.

Is There Any Risk Involved With The Stress Echo?

The stress echo test is non-invasive. Therefore, any patient will not show complications during the stress echo test. Nonetheless, as the stress echo is for people who are undergoing cardiac rehabilitation, one may experience the following common symptoms:

  1. Abnormal heart rhythm
  2. Heart attack
  3. Dizziness

How Long Does A Stress Echo Take?

The stress echo requires you to visit the echocardiography laboratory or in the doctor's office. A single session can last for 60 minutes. However, there are a few prerequisites that you must follow before getting onto the treadmill or the standalone bicycle.

  • You will have to avoid eating or drinking anything prior to the stress echo test with a gap of at least three hours
  • Quit smoking on the day of the stress echo test and prior to the day of the test, as the nicotine content will interfere with the test results
  • Keep away from caffeine and coffee content and any other medications
  • For a diabetic patient, it is important to speak to their doctor to calculate the amount of dosage that they can intake prior to the day of the stress echo test
  • Bring loose-fitting clothes and running shoes as you will be exercising.

What Happens in a Stress Echo?

It is important for the doctor to see how the heart functions when you are at rest and when the heart is under extreme pressure conditions. The stress echo test will provide accurate evidence about the functionality of the heart. The doctor will place electrode patches on the chest to monitor the heart's electrical activity. They will first record the echocardiography when you are resting.

After completing the test, the next phase includes the stress echo test, where you will be exercising on a treadmill or a stationary bicycle. As the doctor monitors continuously, he/she will ask you to increase the intensity for in-depth analysis. The longevity of the exercise depends on how much you can tolerate or until the heart beat reaches the peak condition. You can also stop the exercise if you are feeling dizzy or feeling weak.

After completing the stress echo, the doctor will now explain about the stress echo test results in detail. If the results are normal, then the functionality of the heart is proper. However, if the heartbeat is abnormal, then there is a blockage of the arteries making it difficult for the blood to carry the oxygen and nutrients to the heart. It becomes intense when you are exercising, as there is an increase in demand for oxygen during this state. The treatment offered varies from one to another and also depending on the lifestyle conditions.

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD, FFARCSI

Last Modified On: September 13, 2017

Pain Assist Inc.

Pramod Kerkar
  Note: Information provided is not a substitute for physician, hospital or any form of medical care. Examination and Investigation is necessary for correct diagnosis.

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