A stress echocardiography, also called an echocardiography stress test or stress echo is a procedure that determines how well your heart and blood vessels are working.
During a stress echocardiography, you’ll exercise on a treadmill or stationary bike while your doctor monitors your blood pressure and heart rhythm.
When your heart rate reaches peak levels, your doctor will take ultrasound images of your heart to determine whether your heart muscles are getting enough blood and oxygen while you exercise.
Your doctor may order a stress echocardiography test if you have chest pain that they think is due to coronary artery disease or a myocardial infarction, which is a heart attack. This test also determines how much exercise you can safely tolerate if you’re in cardiac rehabilitation.
The test can also tell your doctor how well treatments such as bypass grafting, angioplasty, and anti-anginal or antiarrhythmic medications are working. This test usually occurs in an echocardiography laboratory or echo lab, but it can also occur in your doctor’s office or another medical setting. It normally takes between 45 and 60 minutes.
The echocardiography stress test is very reliable. Your doctor will explain your test results to you. If the results are normal, your heart is working properly and your blood vessels are probably not blocked due to coronary artery disease.
Abnormal test results may mean that your heart isn’t pumping blood effectively because there’s a blockage in your blood vessels. Another reason could be that a heart attack damaged your heart.