|Other encyclopedia topics:||A-Ag Ah-Ap Aq-Az B-Bk Bl-Bz C-Cg Ch-Co Cp-Cz D-Di Dj-Dz E-Ep Eq-Ez F G H-Hf Hg-Hz I-In Io-Iz J K L-Ln Lo-Lz M-Mf Mg-Mz N O P-Pl Pm-Pz Q R S-Sh Si-Sp Sq-Sz T-Tn To-Tz U V W X Y Z 0-9|
|Contents of this page:|
Alternative Names Return to topEchocardiography stress test; Stress test - echocardiography
Definition Return to top
Stress echocardiography is a test that uses ultrasound imaging to determine how the heart muscles respond to stress. It is mainly used to diagnose and evaluate coronary artery disease.
How the Test is Performed Return to top
A stress echocardiogram includes the following steps:
This test differs from an exercise stress test, which does not use ultrasound images.
How to Prepare for the Test Return to top
Ask your health care provider if you should take any of your routine medicines on the day of the test (especially if you are taking heart medication). Some medicines may interfere with test results.
DO NOT eat or drink for at least 3 hours before the test.
Wear loose, comfortable clothing. You will be asked to sign a consent form before the test.
How the Test Will Feel Return to top
Electrodes (conductive patches) will be placed on your chest, arms, and legs to record the heart's activity. The preparation of the electrode sites on your chest may produce a mild burning or stinging sensation.
The blood pressure cuff on your arm will be inflated every few minutes, producing a squeezing sensation that may feel tight. Baseline measurements of heart rate and blood pressure will be taken before you start exercising.
You will start walking on a treadmill or pedaling a stationary bicycle. The pace and incline of the treadmill will gradually be increased.
If you are not able to exercise, you will receive a medication such as dobutamine through a vein (intravenous line). This type of medicine is given to increase your heart rate to a certain level. You may feel your heart beating more rapidly and forcefully.
Rarely, people experience chest discomfort, palpitations, dizziness, or shortness of breath during the test.
Why the Test is Performed Return to top
The test is performed to see whether your heart muscle is getting enough blood flow and, therefore, enough oxygen when it is working hard (under stress). The purpose is to discover and potentially treat any blockage or disease before serious or life-threatening problems develop.
Your doctor may request this test if you:
Risks Return to top
The risks are very low, and health care professionals will monitor you during the entire procedure. Rare complications include:
Considerations Return to top
A stress echocardiogram is a very effective, noninvasive test that can help determine whether you have blockages in your coronary arteries. If there are blockages, it can determine the severity of the problem. Early diagnosis and monitoring of heart disease allows treatment to begin early.
This test does not require any radiation.
References Return to top
Fleisher LA, Eagle KA. Anesthesia and noncardiac surgery in patients with heart disease. In: Libby P, Bonow RO, Mann DL, Zipes DP. Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier;2007:chap 80.Update Date: 4/23/2009 Updated by: Steven Kang, MD, Division of Cardiac Pacing and Electrophysiology, East Bay Arrhythmia, Cardiovascular Consultants Medical Group, Oakland, CA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.