An exercise stress echo, also called a stress echocardiogram or cardiac stress test, combines an ultrasound of your heart with a stress test performed on a treadmill or stationary bicycle while being closely monitored.
In a healthy heart, all areas of the heart muscle work harder upon exertion. Abnormal movement could indicate a blockage in a coronary artery that supplies blood to that area. While it is possible to detect abnormal movement of the heart and blood supply at rest, the best indicator of previous damage or a current blockage is to exercise the heart muscle and immediately monitor activity to catch abnormalities.
An exercise stress echo can be used to:
If you need a stress echocardiogram but you are unable to exercise, your provider will order a Dobutamine stress echocardiogram. Dobutamine is a medication which causes your heart to beat faster and harder. The dobutamine is infused through an intravenous (IV) port over 15 minutes and is stopped when a target heart rate is reached. During and after the infusion of the medication, the echo tech will take images of your heart.
You may feel your heart beat faster. If you experience symptoms during the test, please be sure to inform the echo tech performing the test.
The appointment will take approximately 60 minutes. The actual exercise time is usually between seven and 12 minutes.
When the test is complete, a Cardiologist will review your results and entered into your electronic medical record. Your physician will then be notified of the results. You may be asked to schedule a follow up visit, or your physician may choose to call you with the results. The testing staff are unable to provide you with your results.