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What is a Stress Echo Test?

  • A Stress Echo is a non-invasive test that combines two tests, a treadmill stress test (TST) and an echocardiogram (ECHO).
  • An echocardiogram is done at rest prior to exercise and again at peak heart rate.
  • The echocardiogram uses sound waves (ultrasound) to provide an image of his heart's internal structures, size and movement. This image is produced by moving a transducer (a very sensitive wand-like device) over the chest area.
  • Electrodes are placed on the chest to monitor the heart's rate and rhythm throughout the test.
  • The cardiologist will have the patient walk on a treadmill, gradually increasing the speed and incline. The patient will exercise from a few up to 15 minutes depending upon his level of ability.
  • The test will be stopped if the patient becomes too tired, has any symptoms such as chest pain.
  • The cardiologist will be looking for changes in the EKG pattern and any symptoms that the patient may experience.
  • At the peak of exercise, the treadmill will be stopped, and the patient will be instructed to lie down immediately on a bed so that a second echocardiogram can be taken to visualize the heart's motion with exercise.
  • The test takes from 30-60 minutes.
  • This test must be ordered by a doctor.

Why is a Stress Echocardiogram Done?

  • This test will help doctor to evaluate the patient's cardiac condition related to:
    • Irregular heart rhythms
    • If there is a decreased supply of blood and oxygen to the heart at rest as well as with exertion
    • Overall level of cardiovascular conditioning
    • How hard his heart can work before symptoms develop
    • How quickly the heart recovers after exercise

What Preparation is Needed?

  • Nothing to eat except water four hours prior to test
  • No caffeine or smoking at least 4 hours prior to test.
  • It is important for the patient to ask his doctor:
    • how to adjust his insulin and food intake prior to the test if he is a diabetic.
    • if he should take his regular medications the morning of the test.
    • if he is on a Beta Blocker, can he STOP taking this medication 72 hours before the test as this is recommended for best results,.
  • Do not apply lotions, oils or powders to the chest area.
  • Wear comfortable clothing (shorts or pants with shirt or blouse) and walking or jogging shoes.

Registration:

  • Pre-register 1-3 days prior to the day the test is scheduled. This will save considerable time on the day of test. Please call 310-517-4754 to pre-register.
  • Plan to arrive 15 minutes before the scheduled time of the test.
  • Enter the hospital through the main lobby.
  • Go directly to the Cardiology Department which is located in the basement.
  • Take the Silver elevators to the left of the lobby to the basement.
  • If not pre-registered, plan to arrive an hour before the scheduled time of the test and first check in at the information desk in the main lobby in order to register.