Echocardiography stress test or stress echo is a general procedure that establishes that how well your heart and blood vessels are working.
During the process of echocardiography stress test, you will exercise on a treadmill while your doctor will monitor your blood pressure and heart rhythm. When the heart rate reaches the top level ultrasound images of the heart are taken to determine whether your heart muscles are getting enough blood and oxygen while you are exercising.
How to prepare for the stress echocardiography?
The echocardiogram is done in the laboratory and also it can be at the doctor’s office. It lasts about 45 to 60 minutes. Before the test you must do the following:
- Do not eat or drink anything for three to four hours before the test
- Do not smoke as nicotine may interfere with your heart rate
- Do not indulge in drinking coffee or take any medication without checking with a doctor
- Ask your doctor if you can take certain medicine if necessary.
- Wear comfortable cloths. Because you will be made to exercise.
The doctor will take the echocardiogram while you are resting and also when you are exercising on the treadmill. The doctor will place 10 small sticky patches called electrodes on your chest. These electrodes are connected to an echocardiograph. This ECG measures you heart electrical activity especially the rate and regularity of your heart beats. Also most likely your blood pressure is taken through the test as well. When the doctor has finished with resting ECG he might ask you to exercise on a treadmill with also increasing the intensity of the treadmill your ECG will be taken. Tell your doctor right away if you feel dizzy or weak, or if there is a pain in your chest.
What does the test result convey the message?
The echocardiography is very reliable. The doctor will explain your test results to you. If the tests are normal the working of your heart is proper and your blood vessel is probably not blocked by coronary artery disease.
An abnormal test may reflect that the heart is not pumping blood effectively because there is a blockage n the blood vessels. Another reason can be that a heart attack has damaged your heart. Future complications can be avoided by diagnosing coronary artery disease and accessing your risk for heart attacks. This test also helps in determining if your current cardiac rehabilitation plan is working for you.