Stress echocardiogram may be done to:
- Identify and monitor reduced blood flow to heart muscle (ischemia). This is usually more apparent after some form of stress, such as exercise.
- To classify the specific types of heart valve disease for further management, like surgery.
- To assess specific causes of dyspnea like “Pulmonary Hypertension”, which at times can only be evident on exertion.
An echo at rest will be done before you start exercising. This is called the baseline, and after it is established you will exercise for a specific amount of time which is walking on a treadmill while being monitored by an ECG machine. (Exercise Electrocardiogram).
You will then lie on a bed, and another echocardiogram will be done. At times you will be asked to hold very still, breathe in and out very slowly, hold your breath, or lie on your left side.
The resting images will be compared with stress images side by side and a diagnosis made, based on that. For particular valvular pathologies like tightening of the Aortic Valve or the valve inlet, specific measurements are made at rest and after the stress.
Stress Echocardiogram takes about 30 to 45 minutes. At Heartcare Sydney, Westmead, we use state-of-the-art equipment including the latest Echocardiogram machine and stress system for the most accurate results.