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A stress echocardiogram is a painless test that helps your doctor understand how your heart functions under stress, for example when you exercise
An echocardiogram that offers clear and accurate images of the inside of your heart to monitor its structure and how it functions. A stress echocardiogram is a type of echocardiogram that's performed during or just after a period of exercise on a treadmill or exercise bike. Sometimes it is performed after you have an injection of medication that makes your heart work harder.
An echocardiogram, also referred to as an "echo", is a painless scan that looks inside your heart and its nearby surrounding blood vessels. The test can detect issues with your heart and help monitor your heart health more generally.
It is a type of ultrasound scan, which means it is performed using a small probe that emits high-frequency soundwaves that create echoes, which bounce off parts of your body. These echoes are detected by the probe and turned into a moving image displayed on a monitor as the scan is being performed.
A stress echocardiogram combines a regular echocardiogram with a stress test.
An echocardiogram can be performed by a consultant cardiologist, a cardiac physiologist, a trained sonographer, or even your GP. The results of an echocardiogram are typically analysed by a cardiac physiologist and confirmed by your consultant cardiologist.
If you are having the test as part of an ongoing treatment plan, these tests may be included in your fixed-price package.
*This is just a guide price for patients who are paying for their own treatment. The actual cost will be confirmed to you before you have the test.
If you do experience any of the above symptoms when you are resting, exercising, or both, a stress echocardiogram could determine why. Your physiologist or consultant might offer you a stress echocardiogram if they detect abnormalities in a regular echocardiogram. This is to help understand the cause of your symptoms and whether they are related to your stress levels.
Your physiologist or doctor will also recommend a stress echocardiogram if you have symptoms of coronary heart disease, which happens when the blood supply to your heart becomes blocked by a build-up of fatty substances in your coronary arteries. A stress echocardiogram can detect a decrease in blood to your heart caused by this blockage in your coronary arteries.
Coronary heart disease can cause pain throughout your body, shortness of breath, and fainting spells. It can be effectively managed and treated with medication, lifestyle changes, and sometimes surgery.
If you are having medication instead of exercising for your stress test, this will be administered with an injection. There is no preparation needed for this, but your consultant will ensure you feel ready to have the injection.
You will be asked to exercise on a treadmill or exercise bike while the test is being performed. The intensity of this exercise routine will vary as you go along so that we can monitor your heart under different levels of exertion.
If you cannot exercise for a stress test due to mobility issues, you might be offered a medication that makes your heart work harder for a short period of time instead. This is called dobutamine. Speak with your consultant about whether this is the right option for you.
Depending on the outcome of the test, you might have to make some diet and lifestyle changes when you return home. Your physiologist and consultant will ensure you are aware of these factors before you leave the hospital.
Your physiologist will need around an hour to analyse your results after your test. Your consultant will confirm their analysis and your diagnosis. You will meet with your consultant after the test to discuss your results and potential treatment plan.
In some cases, you might need to wait a day or two before getting your results, but this depends on your individual circumstances.
If you would like to learn more about this procedure, book your appointment online today or call a member of our team directly on 0141 300 5009.