Prior to a stress test, a resting echocardiogram will be done first. For a resting echocardiogram, patients lie on their left side with their left arm out while a small device (called a transducer) is held against their chest. A special gel is used to help the ultrasound waves get to your heart.
During a stress test, most people walk on a treadmill or pedal an exercise bike. The amount of effort to expect is similar to walking quickly or jogging up a hill. The stress test usually takes between 5 and 15 minutes, depending on the person's level of fitness and age.
If someone is not able to exercise, we provide a medication that allows the heart to beat faster and harder. This medication simulates the heart's reaction to exercise.
We continuously monitor blood pressure and heart rhythm (ECG) throughout the procedure.
We take additional echocardiogram images while the heart rate is increasing or when it reaches its peak. The images will show whether any parts of the heart muscle do not work as well when your heart rate increases. This is a sign that part of the heart may not be getting enough blood or oxygen because of narrowed or blocked arteries.