Stress echocardiography is a test that uses ultrasound imaging to show how well your heart muscle is working to pump blood to your body. It is mainly used to detect a decrease in blood flow to the heart from narrowing in the coronary arteries.
How the Test is Performed:
This test is done at a medical center or health care provider's office.
A resting echocardiogram will be done first. While you lie on your left side with your left arm out, a small device called a transducer is held against your chest. A special gel is used to help the ultrasound waves get to your heart.
Most people will walk on a treadmill. Gradually, about every 3 minutes, you will be asked to walk faster and on an incline. It is like being asked to walk fast or jog up a hill.
In most cases, you will need to walk for around 5 to 15 minutes, depending on your level of fitness and your age. Your doctor will ask you to stop:
- When your heart is beating at the target rate
- When you are too tired to continue
- If you are having chest pain or a change in your blood pressure that worries the provider administering the test
Your blood pressure and heart rhythm (ECG) will be monitored throughout the procedure.
More echocardiogram images will be taken while your heart rate is increasing, or when it reaches its peak. The images will show whether any parts of the heart muscle do not work as well when your heart rate increases. This is a sign that part of the heart may not be getting enough blood or oxygen because of narrowed or blocked arteries.