Reasons for an Exercise Stress Test:

A stress echocardiogram uses high frequency sound waves and exercise to see how the heart functions when it is made to work harder. The test shows any areas of the heart muscle that is not receiving a good blood supply.

Getting Ready:

  • Eat a light breakfast. Avoid alcohol, coffee, cola and chocolate
  • Do not smoke for at least 3 hours before the test
  • Wear sneakers or walking shoes and loose comfortable clothes
  • Bring eyeglasses if needed to fill out forms
  • Take your regular dose of medicine and bring a current list of your medicines
  • Persons with diabetes: Eating a smaller than usual breakfast while taking the same amount of diabetes medicine can cause low blood sugar. Talk to your doctor about adjusting your dose of insulin or diabetes pills on the day of your test

What to Expect:

You will be taken in by a technician. After lying on a stretcher a small area of your chest will be cleaned and may be shaved. Monitor pads will be placed on this area. A transducer (looks like a microphone) with some gel is rested on the center of your chest. The technician moves the transducer over the chest area taking pictures of different parts of the heart. You may feel a slight pressure or vibration during the movement. The technician will check your blood pressure and take your EKG (electrocardiogram) prior to the test.

After the initial EKG’s and echo pictures are finished, you will walk on a treadmill. You will start by walking very slowly at a slight incline, every three minutes the speed and height will increase. EKG’s and blood pressure are watched throughout the test. After the treadmill you will be helped back to the table. A second set of pictures are taken using the transducer. Please discuss any symptoms with the technician. The entire test takes about an hour.

After the test you can resume your normal activities and diet. Your doctor will receive the results.