Stress Echocardiography

A resting ECG and echocardiogram are often normal in patients with coronary artery disease as at rest the heart muscle does not have to work very hard and the blood supply can cope. Stress ECG can unmask underlying coronary heart disease but not everyone is suitable to go on a  treadmill, and the ECG does not give much information as to what part of the heart is affected.

A stress echo looks at the movement of the walls of the left ventricle (the main pumping chamber of the heart) and it can be used to see areas which are starved of blood during exercise due to coronary narrowing or blockages, and look at damaged areas of heart muscle to see if they have the ability to recover if the blood supply were to be improved.

Like an ordinary echo, images of the heart are obtained of the heart function. The heart is then 'stressed' by giving a drug through a vein to stimulate the heart rate and recordings are made throughout the test to see if the function of each part of the heart changes.

An abnormal stress echocardiogram is often followed up by a coronary angiogram which can then identify any narrowing or blockage in the arteries of the heart that might be causing symptoms.

Please note:

Every effort has been made to ensure that the information on this website is up-to-date and accurate. However, it is intended to serve as a guide only. Symptoms may vary and if you have any medical concerns you should always consult a healthcare professional.