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Exercise Stress Echocardiography


Exercise stress echocardiography is a test used to see how your heart responds to stress (exercise).


Before your test:

  • Informed consent is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.
  • Vital signs: Caregivers will check your blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing rate.

During your test:

  • You may be asked to change your clothes. A caregiver will puts a thick gel on your chest. A transducer (wand-like device that receives and sends sound waves) is placed directly above your heart. Your caregiver may press the transducer firmly as he moves it across your chest. Pictures are taken which show what your heart looks like, and how it acts before exercise. Electrodes (sticky patches) are put on your chest. The electrodes will be attached to wires that send the electrical activity of your heart to the electrocardiogram (ECG) monitor.
  • You are asked to start exercising slowly on a stationary bicycle or a treadmill. Pictures of your heart may be taken while you do the exercise. Your caregiver tells you when to speed up until you reach a target heart rate, you are asked to get off the bicycle or treadmill and lie down. Pictures are 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. In some cases, an ECG monitor needs to stay in place for a period of time to watch the heart after the test.

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.


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.


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Exercise Stress Echocardiography (Inpatient Care)

Micromedex® Care Notes