A Stress Echocardiogram is an exercise test performed on a treadmill with patients typically walking for 5- 10 minutes. There will be a gradual increase in speed and gradient applied according to the Bruce Protocol. A stress echocardiogram is commonly performed in the assessment of chest pain, for shortness of breath and to assess for changes in rhythm.
At the beginning of the test one of our Sonographers will attach ECG electrodes across your chest to be able to monitor the heart rhythm during exercise. The ECG leads are attached to a small box attached to a belt which is worn during exercise. Once the ECG is attached ultrasound images are acquired at rest to assess the pumping efficiency of your heart. Following acquisition of the resting images the Cardiologist will check your blood pressure and you will begin walking at a slow pace. The Cardiologist will be present throughout the test and you can stop the test at any time if you feel uncomfortable.
Following exercise on the treadmill you will be assisted back to the bed for the Sonographer to complete further imaging whilst the heart is at peak heart rate.
The Cardiologist will then take time to carefully review and compare the resting and post exercise images primarily looking for changes suggestive of coronary artery narrowing’s or blockages. The Cardiologist will discuss the results of the test with you on the day and a report will also be prepared and sent to your referring Doctor.
This is a non-invasive test performed in our diagnostics room. We ask that you wear comfortable clothing and footwear to be able to walk on the treadmill.