A stress echocardiography, also called an echocardiography stress test or stress echo, is a procedure that determines how well your heart and blood vessels are working.
During a stress echocardiography, you’ll exercise on a treadmill or stationary bike while your doctor monitors your blood pressure and heart rhythm. When your heart rate reaches peak levels, your doctor will take ultrasound images of your heart to determine whether your heart muscles are getting enough blood and oxygen while you exercise.
Your doctor may order a stress echocardiography test if you have chest pain that they think is due to coronary artery disease or a myocardial infarction, which is a heart attack. This test also determines how much exercise you can safely tolerate if you’re in cardiac rehabilitation. The test can also determine how well treatments such as bypass grafting, angioplasty, or anti-anginal or antiarrhythmic medications are working.
This test is safe and noninvasive. Complications are rare, but can include:
This test usually occurs in an echocardiography laboratory, or echo lab, but it can also occur in your doctor’s office or other medical setting. It normally takes between 45 and 60 minutes.
Before you take the test, you should do the following:
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