Stress Echocardiogram (Exercise)

What is an Stress Echocardiogram (Echo)?

A Stress Echo, is a specialised ultrasound test to examine the effect of exercise on the function of your your heart, which allows us to determine if blockages of your coronary arteries are present. A treadmill or bike is used to increase your heart rate. If you are unable to walk for any reason, it is important to let the technician know beforehand.

What do I need to do to prepare for my test?
  • No food or cigarettes 2 hours before the test. Fluids except coffee, energy drinks or strong tea can be consumed up to 30 minutes before your test.
  • Please bring a list of all your current medications. We may ask you to stop medication that slows your heart rate, such as beta blockers on the day of the test.
  • Wear comfortable clothing and footwear for exercise, as you will be walking on a treadmill.
  • Clothing from the waist up needs to be removed to gain access to the chest. A hospital gown is then worn for the test.
How long does the test take?

Allow approximately 60 minutes for your Stress Echo appointment.

Is there a Medicare Rebate?

Yes, as long as patients have a valid referral and a Medicare card.

What happens?

After checking your height and weight, ECG leads will be placed on your chest, which monitor your heart rate and rhythm throughout the examination. Your blood pressure will be checked and then ultrasound images of your heart at rest will be taken whilst you are lying on your left side.

A treadmill is used for the exercise part of the test. There are handrails to hold onto for balance. Your blood pressure will be checked prior to walking, and during each stage of exercise. The treadmill starts slowly and increases in speed and incline every 3 minutes. Throughout the test staff will monitor how you feel as well as any symptoms experienced. The goal is for you to walk on the treadmill as long as you can however you will not be required to walk faster than you are capable of.

When the treadmill stops, you will be assisted back to the bed to take more images of your heart. During recovery your heart rate, ECG and blood pressure will be monitored. On completion of the test, shower facilities are available for your convenience. We then ask you to remain in the comfort of our clinic for 15-20 minutes before leaving.

When will I know the results?

Your report will be sent directly to your referring doctor, usually within 2-3 days. You do not need to wait for the report or any films, videos or CD’s. Please contact the rooms if you do not already have a follow up appointment booked.