Diagnostic Tests & Procedures
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Echo Stress Tests

Woman Monitoring Echo Stress TestStress Echocardiography (Stress Echo) is useful for the diagnosis of a variety of heart conditions, including CAD (coronary blockages), determining the effectiveness of your medications, and evaluating shortness of breath. There are two ways to stress the heart to bring out problems: either by walking on a treadmill or, for those patients unable to walk at a rapid pace, by injection of Dobutamine, which causes the heart to beat harder and faster, mimicking treadmill exercise. With either form of stress test ultrasound (Echo) images of your heart are taken before and immediately after stress and compared for abnormalities at rest and those brought out with stress. 

What to expect:  

  • Medications are often held for the day prior to the test. Please check with our office if there is any question, especially if you are taking a beta blocker medicine such as Lopressor, Metoprolol or Atenolol.
  • Do not eat or drink anything except water for four hours before the test. If you use an inhaler, bring it to the test.
  • Please wear comfortable clothes and sneakers or similar shoes. You are brought into the stress room, where the nurse will place electrodes on your chest. The electrodes allow us to record your EKG and pulse rate during the test.
  • Before starting exercise, with you lying on your left side, ultrasound images are acquired of your heart at rest. An EKG will also be recorded along with your blood pressure.
  • Once the rest images are acquired, you get on the treadmill or the Dobutamine infusion is started. At select intervals, an EKG will be recorded, along with your blood pressure.
  • You will be asked about any symptoms you may have. You are monitored by experienced clinicians and technologists during the test.
  • The entire test takes approximately one hour.
Southcoast Physicians Group An affiliate of Southcoast Physicians Group.