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Pharmacologic Stress Echocardiography


Pharmacologic stress echocardiography (echo) uses medicine to make your heart work just as it does when you exercise. It is used to check for heart damage, blockage, or problems with the heart walls.


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.
  • An IV is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.

During your test:

  • You may be asked to change your clothes. A caregiver 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. A picture of your heart at rest is recorded. Electrodes (sticky patches) are put on your chest. The electrodes will be attached to wires that transmit the electrical activity of your heart to the ECG monitor.
  • Medicine is given slowly and constantly through the IV line. Your heart activity is watched during and after the medicine has been given. Your blood pressure, heart rate, and rhythm are also checked regularly. After you receive the medicine, you may be asked to hold still and hold your breath while more pictures are taken.

After your test:

  • Heart monitor: This is also called an ECG or EKG. Sticky pads placed on your skin record your heart's electrical activity.


A pharmacologic stress echocardiography test may cause you to feel dizzy, lightheaded, and weak. You may feel your heart throbbing or have extra heartbeats, 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 Pharmacologic Stress Echocardiography (Inpatient Care)

Micromedex® Care Notes