Skip to Content

Exercise Stress Echocardiography


What is exercise stress echocardiography?

Exercise stress echocardiography (echo) is a test used to see how your heart responds to stress (exercise). This test shows the valves, muscles, and walls of the heart.

Why may I need an exercise stress echo?

This test is used to check for heart damage, blockage, or problems with the heart walls. The test can help caregivers create an exercise plan for you. Caregivers may also use an exercise stress echo to do any of the following:

  • Find the cause of symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, and weakness
  • Monitor or diagnose a heart condition, such as heart disease or arrhythmias (abnormal heartbeats)
  • Monitor how your heart responds to a medicine or treatment
  • Check your risk for a heart attack

How is an exercise stress echo done?

An exercise echo may be done in a clinic, a caregiver's office, or in a hospital.

  • Electrodes (sticky patches) will be put on your chest. Hair may be removed to help the patches stick to your skin. The electrodes will be attached to wires that send the electrical activity of your heart to the electrocardiogram (ECG) monitor.
  • You will need to exercise on a stationary bicycle or a treadmill. While you do the exercise, the activity of your heart is being watched on the ECG monitor. Caregivers will use echocardiography (ultrasound) to create a moving picture of your heart as it works.

What are the risks of exercise stress echo?

An exercise stress echo 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.

What wellness tips can I follow?

  • Eat a variety of heart healthy foods. Healthy foods include fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads, low-fat dairy products, beans, lean meats, and fish. Limit foods high in saturated and trans fats. Ask your primary healthcare provider or cardiologist if you need to be on a low cholesterol or sodium (salt) diet.
  • Exercise. Ask your primary healthcare provider or cardiologist about the best exercise plan for you.
  • Do not smoke. If you smoke, it is never too late to quit. Smoking increases your risk of heart problems. Ask your primary healthcare provider or cardiologist for information if you need help quitting.

When should I contact my caregiver?

Contact your caregiver if:

  • You feel dizzy or lightheaded.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

When should I seek immediate care?

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • You have sudden trouble breathing.
  • You have chest pain even after you take your medicine.

Care Agreement

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. 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.

Learn more about Exercise Stress Echocardiography

IBM Watson Micromedex

Further information

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