An exercise stress test is also called a stress electrocardiogram. This is a test that uses an electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) to record your heart’s electrical activity while walking on a treadmill. The test is performed to help evaluate chest pain and to see how your heart is functioning. In some cases, a drug is used to increase the heart rate rather than using exercise.
An electrocardiogram is performed before you begin exercising and then immediately after you stop. During the test, small pads (electrodes) are placed on your upper body to monitor your heart rate. Your blood pressure is usually monitored before, during, and after the test as well. You will be asked to walk on a treadmill as the speed and grade of the treadmill is slowly increased. You are asked to exercise as long as possible so that the doctor gets the best information about how your heart is working. The test is evaluated by reviewing the recording of the heart’s electrical activity during the test.
The Echocardiogram done during the test uses ultrasound (sound waves) to create images of the heart. A technician moves a small round probe over the chest, sending sound waves through the body to create images of internal body structures. The images show a moving picture of the heart. Echocardiograms provide the doctor with information about the heart chambers and hear muscle, the heart’s pumping strength and valve function, identifies fluid around the heart, holes in the heart, blood clots and tumors within the heart.
Stress Echocardiograms are used to:
- Evaluate chest discomfort possibly due to reduced flow of blood through the coronary artery.
- Evaluate symptoms of shortness of breath
- Evaluate heart rhythm abnormalities
- Evaluate a patient’s response to treatment he has been receiving or prior heart procedures
- Evaluate a patient’s overall exercise capacity
These tests are performed in a lab at our Murray office location.