A stress echocardiogram is a diagnostic test used to evaluate the strength of the heart muscle as it pumps blood throughout the body. Using ultrasound imaging, the stress echocardiogram detects and records any decrease in blood flow to the heart caused by narrowing of the coronary arteries. The test, which takes place in our office is administered in two parts: resting and with exercise. In both cases, the patient's blood pressure and heart rate are measured so that heart functioning at rest and during exercise can be compared. The ultrasound images enable the doctor to see whether any sections of the heart muscle are malfunctioning due to an insufficient supply of blood or oxygen.
Reasons For A Stress Echocardiogram
The test is administered to patients whose heart health is in question or to evaluate ongoing cardiac treatment. Patients are candidates for a stress echocardiogram if they have been having chest pains or angina or have recently had a heart attack. They may also have the test as a requirement prior to heart surgery or before beginning an exercise program. The stress echocardiogram measures:
How well the heart muscle and valves are working
How well the heart handles exercise (stress)
Whether the patient is likely to have coronary artery disease
Whether the patient's heart function has improved after treatment
Whether chambers of the heart are enlarged