Stress echocardiography is a procedure that determines how well your heart and blood vessels are working. It involves exercise work on a treadmill or the use of a drug (dobutamine) that increase both the heart rate and the force with which the heart contracts. ECG monitoring will also occur during the procedure.
Firstly, the ECG monitor will be set up with electrodes attached to your chest, and a blood pressure cuff placed around an upper arm. Next, an echocardiogram (echo) will be done while your body remains resting. Please see the relevant pages to learn more of these tests.
Next, you will asked to undertake a 6-10 minute burst of exercise on the treadmill or have a drug administered. During this time your ECG, heart rate and blood pressure will be monitored. Once your heart rate reaches a pre-specified level, a second echo will be conducted to image your heart working under stress and provide a comparison with your resting echo.
You can then cool down, including slowly walking around, while your heart rate and blood pressure return to their resting levels.
The procedure normally takes 45-60 minutes and once completed most patients can return to their normal activities without any issues.