Exercise Stress Echocardiography
What you should know
Exercise stress echocardiography is a test used to see how your heart responds to stress (exercise).
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An exercise stress echocardiography may cause you to feel dizzy, lightheaded, and weak. You may feel your heart throbbing or have extra heartbeats. You may have chest pain or a heart attack.
The week before your test:
- Ask your caregiver if you need to stop using aspirin or any other prescribed or over-the-counter medicine before your procedure or surgery.
- Bring your medicine bottles or a list of your medicines when you see your caregiver. Tell your caregiver if you are allergic to any medicine. Tell your caregiver if you use any herbs, food supplements, or over-the-counter medicine.
- Tell your caregiver if you are taking blood pressure medicines or blood vessel medicines. He may ask you to stop taking these for at least 48 hours before your test.
- Ask caregivers about directions for eating and drinking on the day of your test.
- Tell your caregiver if you are or think that you might be pregnant.
- You may need to have some other tests done before the stress test. Ask your caregiver for more information about these and other tests that you may need. Write down the date, time, and location of each test.
- Write down the correct date, time, and location of your surgery.
- You or a close family member will be asked to sign a legal document called a consent form. It gives caregivers permission to do the procedure or surgery. It also explains the problems that may happen, and your choices. Make sure all your questions are answered before you sign this form.
The day of your test:
- Ask your caregiver before taking any medicine on the day of your procedure. These medicines include insulin, diabetic pills, high blood pressure pills, or heart pills. Bring a list of all the medicines you take, or your pill bottles, with you to the hospital.
- Do not wear tight-fitting clothes on the day of your test. Wear walking shoes or sneakers so that you are comfortable during the test.
What will happen:
- You may be asked to change your clothes. A caregiver will put a thick gel on your chest. A transducer (wand-like device that receives and sends sound waves) will be placed directly above your heart. Your caregiver will press the transducer firmly as he moves it across your chest. Pictures will be taken using an echocardiogram (ultrasound). These pictures show what your heart looks like, and how it acts before exercise. Electrodes (sticky patches) will be put on your chest then attached with wires to the electrocardiogram (ECG) monitor.
- You will be asked to start exercising slowly on a stationary bicycle or a treadmill. Pictures may be taken and recorded while you do the exercise. Your caregiver may tell you to speed up until you reach a target heart rate. Once you reach the target heart rate, you will be asked to get off the bicycle or treadmill and lie down. Pictures will be taken again for several minutes and you may be asked to hold still. Your caregiver may also ask you to hold your breath while the pictures are taken.
After your test:
If you are staying in the hospital after the test, caregivers will take you to your room. If you plan to go home after the test but need to wait for test results, bring a friend or family member to wait with you. They can help support you during and after the test.
Contact a caregiver if
- You have a fever.
- You have questions or concerns about your test or medicines.
Seek Care Immediately if
- You have nausea.
- You have chest pain or discomfort that spreads to your arms, jaw, or back.
- You are sweating more than usual or have trouble breathing all of a sudden.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.