Exercise Stress Echocardiograms

About ExerciseStress Echocardiography 

Stress Echocardiography is an advanced type of stress testing. Stress testing allows detection of weaknesses in the heart that cannot be detected at rest. The information acquired from stress testing allows a cardiologist to work out: 

  • Whether a person's heart is healthy or not.

  • The likelihood of a particular person having a heart attack or dying from a heart disease.

  • Whether particular symptoms such as chest discomfort or shortness of breath are due to a heart condition or not.

  • What the best treatment for a particular heart condition is. This may involve medication, stenting or heart surgery.

The word "stress" has a different meaning to cardiologists than it does to other people. To cardiologists to "stress" the heart is to get it to do what it has been designed to do, i.e. deliver large amounts of blood to exercising muscles. The most common way this is done is with treadmill exercise. In stress testing the heart is then assessed in this exercising state.

ECG is electrocardiography i.e. the study of the hearts' electrical waves. With stress ECG, the old method of stress testing, the heart assessment is by ECG alone. With stress echocardiography, the assessment of the heart is done by echocardiography in addition to ECG. The information obtained by the echocardiography is more accurate and more useful than the information from the ECG. I provide a stress echocardiography serviced through my practice.

Instructions for Exercise Stress Echocardiograms

There are two components. The first component is a comprehensive resting echocardiogram which will evaluate the entire heart including the heart valves. The second component is the stress component, evaluating the left ventricle (the main pumping chamber of the heart ) immediately before and immediately after treadmill exercise or pharmacological stress. Our usual practice is to perform each of the components on separate days. The major reason for this is that patients having both components on the same day will receive only approximate half the rebate Medicare that they would receive if they had the components on separate days. Both components can be performed on the same day at the patient's request.

For the stress component please wear shoes and shorts with which it would be comfortable to walk on a treadmill.