The Echo Stress Test (also called stress echocardiography), which assesses how the heart responds to physical stress, is performed to help diagnose coronary artery disease (CAD). This test is often performed after an a patient has undergone an exercise stress test and received abnormal results.
In an Echo Stress Test, the heart is imaged with echocardiography while the patient is resting and immediately following exercise. Echocardiography is an imaging technology that uses sound waves to create a moving pictures of the heart.
How is the Echo Stress Test Performed?
An Echo Stress Test begins with a resting echocardiogram. Next, the patient walks on a treadmill or rides a stationary bike until the target heart rate is reached. At that point, another echocardiogram is taken. Patients who are unable to exercise receive an intravenous injection of a medication that makes the heart beat faster and harder. Throughout the procedure, the patient’s blood pressure and heart rhythm (ECG) are monitored.
The images reveal how well the heart’s chambers and valves are working when the heart is under stress. The echocardiogram will identify areas of poor blood flow, dead heart muscle tissue and abnormal muscle contractions