Stress echocardiogram may be performed 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.
How stress echocardiogram is performed?
An echocardiogram at rest is performed before you start exercising on treadmill machine. This is called the “baseline echocardiogram images”. You will exercise for a specific amount of time while being monitored by an ECG machine. (Exercise Electrocardiogram).
The treadmill machine speed and gradient will increase every 3 minutes, according to a specific protocol. You need to achieve at least 85% of the predicted maximum heart rate for your age, to be able to draw conclusions out of the test, otherwise the results are not reliable.
You will then immediately lie on the 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.
These images will be compared with the baseline 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, we use state-of-the-art equipment including the latest Echocardiogram machine and stress system for the most accurate results.