A treadmill stress echocardiogram is a two-dimensional ultrasound performed before and after an exercise stress test.
Through a hand-held transducer and gel applied directly on your skin, ultrasound uses non-radiation sound wave technology to create an echo image of the organs and vessels in your body.
During a treadmill stress echocardiogram, ultrasound examines the structure and assesses the function of your heart before and after it has been subjected to a treadmill exercise stress test.
Other Cardiac Procedures
Prior to your exercise stress test, you may need to stop some heart or blood pressure medications. You will need to speak to your doctor about these changes, if they are required.
If you have any physical or medical conditions that would impact on your ability to walk on a treadmill during the examination then you may need to have a different type of test.
On the day of the exercise stress test you will need to abstain from applying any lotions or creams to your chest area.
As an exercise stress test will be assessing your heart, it will be best to wear a two-piece outfit to allow for easier access to your chest. It is recommended you wear comfortable walking or running shoes.
You will be asked to remove your top and bra (if you’re wearing one). You will be offered a gown to wear.
During the stress echocardiogram, you will first be connected to a 12-lead ECG monitor and have your resting blood pressure taken.
You will then be asked to lie on your left hand side to have resting ultrasound images taken of your heart.
After the ultrasound you will commence walking on a mortised treadmill. During exercise your ECG, heart rate and blood pressure will be monitored closely.
Immediately after exercise you will have more ultrasound pictures taken where you will need to lie on your left hand side once more.
You will be monitored closely for a period of time after you complete the exercise phase.
Treadmill stress echocardiograms usually take about 40 minutes.
A treadmill stress echocardiogram is a non-invasive procedure so you can return immediately to your usual everyday activities, unless advised otherwise on the day of your test.
Your echocardiogram scans and ECG tracings are reviewed by a Specialist Cardiologist and a report is sent to your referring Doctor. It is best to make an appointment with them to follow up on the results. You may be notified of any findings that require immediate follow up on the day of your procedure.