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Heart & Vascular

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Stress Echocardiogram (Stress Echo)

What is a stress echo?
A stress echo uses sound waves to produce and record “moving pictures” of your heart at rest and during exercise. A doctor will compare pictures of your heart at rest with pictures of your heart during exercise. The test shows how well your heart muscle pumps blood at rest and if your heart is getting the blood and oxygen it needs during exercise.

Before your stress echo

  • Do not eat or drink for four hours before your test.
  • Check with your doctor about what medicines you should take the day of your test.
  • Wear comfortable clothes and walking shoes.

During your stress echo
The technician will ask you to remove your clothes from the waist up and lie on a table on your left side (Women will be given a gown to wear that opens in the front.). Electrodes will be attached to your chest to record your heart’s electrical signals, which set the rhythm of your heart beat. The technician will move a probe with lubricating gel across your chest to take pictures of your heart at rest. Your blood pressure will also be monitored and recorded during the test.

Next, you will walk on a treadmill until your heart beats fast. When you stop walking, you will lie on the table, and the technician will move the probe across your chest again to take pictures of your heart right after exercise. Tell your doctor if you have chest/arm tightness or pain, dizziness, shortness of breath, or leg pain. The test usually takes less than one hour.

After your stress echo
You may return to normal activity.

If you would like more information, please call 919-350-8150.

Stress Echo