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Exercise Echocardiogram Test (Stress Echo)

Definition
An exercise echocardiogram (also known as a stress echo) is a test that combines an ultrasound study of the heart with an exercise test. The test allows the doctor to learn how the heart functions when it has to work harder. This test is useful in diagnosing heart problems, such as coronary artery disease (blockages in the coronary arteries).

Before The Test
You should allow an hour to an hour and a half for this
test.
Wear or bring comfortable attire and walking/running
shoes.
Refrain form eating at least two hours before the test. This
will prevent the possibility of nausea, which may
accompany vigorous exercise after eating.
Make your last meal light and without tea, coffee or
alcohol.
If you are currently taking any heart medication, check
with your CCND doctor. He or she may ask you to stop
certain medications a day or two before the test. This can
help obtain more accurate tests results.
Before the test, you will be given an explanation of the
test and you will be asked to sign a consent form. Feel
free to ask any questions about the procedure.
Several areas on your chest and shoulders will be
cleansed with alcohol and an abrasive pad will be used to
prepare the skin for the electrodes (small sticky patches).
Men may need to have areas of their chest shaved, to
ensure that the electrodes stay in place.

During The Test
The test is divided into three parts. First, a resting
echocardiogram is performed. Next, you will walk on a
treadmill, Then another echocardiogram is performed
while your heart is still beating rapidly after exercise.
Resting echocardiogram - You will be asked to lie on an
exam table. To improve the quality of the pictures, a
colorless gel is applied to the area of the chest when the
transducer will be placed. Pictures of your heart are
recorded on videotape.
Exercise test - You will walk slowly in place on a
treadmill, on which the speed is increased to a faster pace
and is then tilted to produce the effect of going up a small
hill. The doctor will stop the test when you reach your
peak heart rate, when you get too tired, or have
significant symptoms.
After exercise echocardiogram - You will be asked to
very rapidly return to the examining table, and lie once
again on your left side. The sonographer will then record
a second set of images while your heart is still beating
rapidly. The CCND doctor can then compare the two sets
of images. This will be before and after exercise side by
side to see how your heart responds to the stress of
exercise.

After The Test
The doctor conducting the test can give you results before
you leave. A complete interpretation will be sent to your
referring physician.
If the test is abnormal or inconclusive, then additional tests
may be ordered.
The information gained from the stress echo helps your
doctor make an accurate diagnosis and develop a
treatment plan that is best for you.

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The information contained in this web site is presented for information purposes only, and is not intended to substitute in any way a consultation with a physician or competent healthcare professional for medical diagnosis and/or treatment.