STRESS ECHOCARDIOGRAM (SE OR STRESS ECHO)
A Stress Echo is a non-invasive test that combines two tests, an echocardiogram (Echo) and a treadmill stress test. The echocardiogram uses sound waves (ultrasound) to provide an image of your 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 echocardiogram is done at rest prior to exercise and again at peak heart rate. The cardiologist will have you walk on a treadmill, gradually increasing the speed and incline. Patients will usually exercise from a few minutes up to 15 minutes depending upon his or her level of ability. The test will be stopped if you become too tired or if you are having any symptoms such as chest pain. The cardiologist will be looking for changes in the EKG pattern and any symptoms that you may experience. At the peak of exercise, the treadmill will be stopped, and you 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.
This test will help the cardiologist evaluate your cardiac condition related to:
Irregular heart rhythms
If there is a decrease supply of blood and oxygen to the heart at rest as well as with exertion.
Overall level of cardiovascular conditioning
How hard your heart can work before symptoms develop
How quickly the heart recovers after exercise.
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