Stress Echocardiogram

Stress echocardiography is a test that uses ultrasound imaging to show how well your heart muscles are working to pump blood to your body when your heart rate is increased. This test is mainly used to detect a decrease in blood flow to the heart muscles caused by coronary artery disease.

On the treadmill

BEFORE YOU COME

There are a few things we would like you to do prior to your appointment:

  1. Bring a current list of your medications (or better yet, bring them in their original bottles!)

  2. Wear loose & comfortable clothing/shoes that are fit for exercise

  3. Please refrain from eating, smoking, or drinking beverages containing caffeine or alcohol for 2 hours prior to your appointment

  4. Please arrive 10-15 minutes before your scheduled time to fill out paperwork (or better yet, print it from the 'More Information' section below, under 'Stress Echocardiogram Forms' and bring a completed version with you!)

WHEN YOU'RE HERE

This test is performed in Medical Centre 1

Suite 206, 430 The Boardwalk, Waterloo, ON

Please head to the CPS Registration Desk and we will direct you from there.

A resting echocardiogram will be done first. While you lie on your left side, a small device called a transducer is held against your chest. A special gel is used to help the ultrasound waves get to your heart to make an image. You will then walk on a treadmill. Roughly every 3 minutes you will be asked to walk faster and on a slightly greater incline. It will feel like walking quickly or jogging up a slight hill. Your heart rate and rhythm will be monitored throughout the study using an electrocardiogram, and your blood pressure will be monitored at various intervals. Finally, more echocardiogram images will be taken after you stop exercising.

The test will continue until:

  • You reach a target heart rate

  • You develop chest pain or an excessive change in blood pressure

  • The electrocardiogram shows that your heart is not getting enough oxygen

  • You are too tired, or are experiencing other symptoms (shortness of breath, or leg pain) that is keeping you from continuing

Please note that your technologist may determine that contrast (a microscopic solution, not a dye) is required for improving diagnostic image quality. Upon your consent, contrast would be delivered intravenously (through an IV). Any concerns regarding contrast can be discussed with your technologist at the time of your appointment.

How long will my appointment be?

45 mins

AFTER YOU LEAVE

One of our cardiologists will then interpret the entirety of the test, write a report, and send the results to your doctor.

There are many reasons why your doctor may have ordered a stress echocardiogram. 

A stress echocardiogram is helpful to diagnose:

  • Coronary artery disease

  • New or worsening chest pain or shortness of breath with or without exercise

  • Angina that is becoming more severe or more frequent

  • A recent heart attack

  • To further test for a heart valve problem

  • Having a strong family history of heart disease

  • Have had a stress test with unclear results

If you are still wondering why you were referred to us for a stress echocardiogram, we encourage you to reach out to your doctor and ask for clarification.

More Information