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Stress Echocardiography (Echo)

Allow at least 1–2 hours from your arrival to the time you can leave.

Stress echocardiography, or stress echo, is a test that records images of your heart before and after exercise. By comparing the images, your doctor can tell whether your heart is getting enough blood to meet its increased demand for oxygen.

During an echo images of your heart appear on a monitor
Images of your heart are recorded on videotape for your doctor to see later.

Before Your Test

  • Be sure to mention the medications you take and ask if it’s okay to take them before your test.

  • Don’t eat, drink, smoke, or have any caffeine for 4 hours before test.

  • Wear flat, comfortable walking shoes.

  • Wear a shirt, blouse, or sweater that you can remove easily. You may be asked to remove your clothing from the waist up.

  • Please arrive at least 15 minutes early for your test.  This procedure will be done at the Rochester Southeast Clinic.  Use the main entrance and check in at the front desk.

During Your Test

A transducer (a small device that produces sound waves) and gel are placed on your chest to record images on videotape of your heart at rest.

  • Image of patient on tredmill Your blood pressure is also monitored, and electrodes are attached to your chest to record an electrocardiogram (EKG), a test that records the pattern of your heartbeat.

  • Next, you’re asked to walk on a treadmill or pedal a stationary bicycle until your heart is beating rapidly. Note: If you are not able to exercise, you’ll be given a drug to get your heart working harder.

  • Finally, a technician records a second set of video images of your heart immediately after you finish exercising.

  • In some cases, a microbubble contrast agent (which does not contain iodine) may be used to make the echo images clearer. A microbubble is a very small bubble of gas that dissolves on its own. The microbubble contrast is given through a needle placed in a vein (IV). Tell your health care provider about any allergies you have.

After the Test

  • You can resume your normal activity.

  • Be sure to keep your follow-up appointment with your doctor to discuss test results.

  • If you have any questions regarding this procedure, please call the following number and ask for the Cardiology department 507.288.3443.

During the test, be sure to tell the health care provider if you feel any chest, arm, or jaw discomfort, severe shortness of breath, fatigue, or dizziness.

Your next appointment is: _______________________

© 2000-2017 The StayWell Company, LLC. 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.