What is a stress echo?
A stress echo is actually two test combined into one. Both test are used to diagnosis heart disease.
What are the two test?
The exercise STRESS test is combined with the ECHOcardiogram to make-up the STRESS ECHO.
What will be required of me and how are the test used together?
The exercise stress test is a diagnostic test that requires the patient to walk on a treadmill or ride a stationary bike until you either tire out, experience abnormal symptoms or reach a predetermined endpoint. The test will start out relatively easy and will require more effort as the test goes on. There is no set time that you must remain on the treadmill and the total time will depend on the amount of exercise you can tolerate. While exercising, you will be hooked up to an EKG machine which will display the electrical activity of your heart on a screen. The physician and a trained technician will monitor your EKG and document your heart’s response to the exercise.
The echocardiogram or Echo will require you to lay on your left side while a trained technician uses high frequency sound waves to obtain images of your heart. These images will be recorded before and after you exercise (images may also be recorded while you pedal on the stationary bike). The images recorded before you exercise will be compared to the images immediately after you exercise. By doing this, a specially trained physician can determine if your heart responded properly to the exercise. Depending on your hearts response on the echocardiogram and the information obtained from the EKG, it can be determined if you have heart disease.
Is there any special preparation for the test?
Yes. You should eat a light breakfast (if your test is scheduled for the afternoon, eat a regular breakfast and a light lunch), wear comfortable clothes and a pair of shoes that you can walk in comfortably and take all your medication unless instructed otherwise by your physician. If you have any questions concerning whether or not you should take your medication(s), check with your doctor. Plan on the test taking one and a half to two hours to complete. So schedule your time approximately for that day. DO NOT BE IN A HURRY.