Exercise Stress Echocardiogram

This test measures the performance and capacity of the heart and blood vessels in response to increasing workload (exercise). Testing consists of walking on a treadmill, the speed and gradient of which are increased every three minutes. An Echocardiogram (an ultrasound of your heart) will be taken immediately before and after the exercise period to see how your heart responds to stress. A trained technician will place a special probe on various parts of the chest wall to take a series of images and videos the heart from different directions.

On the day of the test

  • Please bring a list of your current medications.
  • Wear a two-piece outfit and comfortable footwear (e.g. walking shoes or joggers).
  • Do not use body lotion or wear neck chains.
  • Have a light breakfast only and do not eat for 3 hours before your test.
  • Do not consume alcohol or caffeine, or smoke in the 3 hours before your test.

Immediately before starting the test

  • You will need to undress to the waist (women will be given a gown to wear while exercising).
  • Men may require part of the chest to be shaved.
  • Electrodes will be placed onto your chest and the Technician will perform an ultrasound of your heart at rest.
  • An ECG device will then be fitted around your waist.

During the exercise test

  • You will be supervised by an experienced Doctor and Cardiac Technician.
  • The speed and incline of the treadmill will be increased every 3 minutes, stopping when you feel exhausted.
  • Your blood pressure, pulse rate and electrocardiogram will be monitored continuously.
  • If you feel unwell in any way during the test, tell the doctor immediately. The test will stop if there are any observations that concern the doctor, if you become tired or breathless or if you develop chest pain or other symptoms.

After the exercise test

  • You will be removed from the treadmill and placed on the bed AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE after the stress test so the Technician can perform a final ultrasound of your heart.
  • You will be asked to remain seated for a further 10 minutes to ensure you are fully recovered before leaving the Medical Centre.
  • A full report will be sent to your Doctor after the results have been reviewed by a Cardiologist.