Stress Echocardiography

What Is Stress Echo Test?

Stress echo test is a type of diagnostic test used to detect heart disease or arrhythmia. A stress echo test measures the electrical activity in your heart. The result of stress echo test may indicate whether you have any problems with your heart, such as abnormal rhythm, irregular heartbeat, or blockage.

The main purpose of stress echo tests is to determine if there are abnormalities in the hearts’ electrical function. If there are abnormalities, then it means that something is wrong with your heart. For example, if you have a problem with your heart’s electrical function, then you could develop atrial fibrillation (AF).

AF is a condition where the heart beats too fast and becomes irregularly beating. If you have AF, then you will experience shortness of breath when exercising or during other activities requiring high levels of energy.

In addition, stress echo test may show if you have a blockage in one of your arteries. Blockages in blood vessels cause chest pain and difficulty breathing. If you have blockages in several of your arteries, then you will need to see a doctor immediately.

How Does Stress Echo Test Work?

A stress echo test involves placing electrodes on the skin over certain areas of the body and recording the electrical activity produced by those areas while someone else performs various physical tasks.

There are several types of stress echo tests, including:

Stress echo test on a treadmill. For this test, you are required to run or jog on a treadmill while electrodes are placed on specific areas of your body. The activity level is slowly increased over a period of five minutes.

The electrical activity of the heart is tracked during this process. An electrocardiogram (ECG) is also done before and after the test.

Stress echo test on a bike. For this test, you are required to cycle for five minutes at a slow rate. The activity is increased by one level every two minutes until you reach a level of five, the highest level.

An ECG is also done before and after the test.

Stress echo test using medication. This type of test involves taking a drug for five minutes before the test.

Sources & references used in this article:

Stress echocardiography by TH Marwick – Echocardiography, 2018 – Springer

Stress echocardiography: recommendations for performance and interpretation of stress echocardiography by WF Armstrong, PA Pellikka, T Ryan, L Crouse… – … of Echocardiography, 1998 – Elsevier

Stress echocardiography and the human factor: the importance of being expert by E Picano, F Lattanzi, A Orlandini, C Marini… – Journal of the …, 1991 – onlinejacc.org

American Society of Echocardiography recommendations for performance, interpretation, and application of stress echocardiography by PA Pellikka, SF Nagueh, AA Elhendy… – … of Echocardiography, 2007 – asecho.org

Stress echocardiography expert consensus statement: European Association of Echocardiography (EAE)(a registered branch of the ESC) by R Sicari, P Nihoyannopoulos… – … of Echocardiography, 2008 – academic.oup.com

Stress echocardiography. From pathophysiological toy to diagnostic tool. by E Picano – Circulation, 1992 – Am Heart Assoc

Methodology, feasibility, safety and diagnostic accuracy of dobutamine stress echocardiography by ML Geleijnse, PM Fioretti… – Journal of the American …, 1997 – onlinejacc.org