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Stress echocardiography


Definition:

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

Alternative Names:

Echocardiography stress test; Stress test - echocardiography

How to Prepare for the Test:

Ask your health care provider if you should take any of your regular medicines on the day of the test. Some medicines may interfere with test results. Never stop taking any medicine without first talking to your doctor.

It is important to tell your doctor if you have taken any of the following medications within the past 24 hours (1 day):

  • Sildenafil citrate (Viagra)
  • Tadalafil (Cialis)
  • Vardenafil (Levitra)

DO NOT eat or drink for at least 3 hours before the test.

Wear loose, comfortable clothing. You will be asked to sign a consent form before the test.

How the Test will Feel:

Electrodes (conductive patches) will be placed on your chest, arms, and legs to record the heart's activity.

The blood pressure cuff on your arm will be inflated every few minutes, producing a squeezing sensation that may feel tight.

Rarely, people feel chest discomfort, extra or skipped heartbeats, dizziness, or shortness of breath during the test.

Normal Results:

A normal result means that blood flow through the coronary arteries is probably normal.

The meaning of your test results depends on the reason for the test, your age, and your history of heart and other medical problems.

Risks:

The risks are very low. Health care professionals will monitor you during the entire procedure.

Rare complications include:

References:

Boden WE. Angina pectoris and stable ischemic heart disease. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 71.

Connolly HM, Oh JK. Echocardiography. In: Bonow RO, Mann DL, Zipes DP, Libby P, eds. Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 15.

Fraker TD Jr., Fihn SD, Gibbons RJ, et al. 2007 chronic angina focused update of the ACC/AHA 2002 Guidelines for the management of patients with chronic stable angina: a report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines Writing Group to develop the focused update of the 2002 Guidelines for the management of patients with chronic stable angina. Circulation. 2007;116:2762-2772.

Mahajan N, Polavaram L, Vankayala H, et al. Diagnostic accuracy of myocardial perfusion imaging and stress echocardiography for the diagnosis of left main and triple vessel coronary artery disease: a comparative meta-analysis. Heart. 2010;96(12):956-966.


Review Date: 5/1/2013
Reviewed By: Michael A. Chen, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, Harborview Medical Center, University of Washington Medical School, Seattle, Washington Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. Copyright 2002 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

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