A Stress Echocardiogram Might Help Your Cardiologist Understand Why You Have Chest Pain

Health & Medical Blog

If you've been having chest pain on exertion or at rest, your doctor might suggest a stress test. If the stress test shows signs of an abnormality, the next step could be to do a stress test with an echocardiogram before and after. This gives your cardiologist more detailed information about the health of your heart. Here's how this type of echocardiography is done.

The First Step Is Taking An Echocardiogram

An echocardiogram for a stress test is easy to go through. There is no pain involved. It's just like taking any other ultrasound test, except this one is to visualize your heart. You lie comfortably on a table and the technician applies gel to the skin above your heart. Then they glide the ultrasound device over your chest.

Images of your heart appear on a monitor. You might even be able to see these yourself if you're positioned just right, but you may not understand what you're seeing. The images come back as videos and stills. They show the chambers of your heart beating and blood flowing through the vessels. Various types of heart damage may be visible too if you have any.

Next Is The Treadmill Test

If you've had a treadmill stress test previously, then you know what to expect. The treadmill will be elevated periodically so you push yourself to your target heart rate or until you start having chest pains or other symptoms. This is a safe test since you are monitored constantly while you're exerting yourself and the test will be stopped early if necessary.

You should let the doctor know if you start having chest pain, feel dizzy, or have other symptoms. You'll be hooked up to monitors the entire time, but feedback from you is important for helping the doctor understand how your heart responds to stress.

The Final Step Is A Second Echocardiogram

Your testing session ends with a second echocardiogram. You'll immediately lie back down on the table to have the test done to look for changes after you've been exerting yourself. If the cardiologist sees changes, they'll have a clue as to what's causing your symptoms. The echocardiogram may be combined with other types of heart testing and imaging so your doctor gets as much data about your heart as possible.

Once the doctor gets a clear picture of your heart health, they can recommend the right treatment, including cardiac rehabilitation. Once you start your treatment regimen, the doctor might order a follow-up echocardiogram to see how well the treatment is helping your heart. 

For more information about echocardiography, contact a local doctor. 


10 January 2023

Take Your Health Into Your Own Hands

My name is Katie Langer. For a long time, I was bed ridden and I felt like I had no control over my life. I simply went along with what was instructed by my doctor and I didn't ask questions. It wasn't that my doctor wasn't willing to work with me, but I preferred to simply not think about the illness I was suffering from. I didn't realize that some of the symptoms I was suffering from were side effects of my medication and were not normal. After communicating more with my doctor, I was able to alleviate my symptoms. Since then, I've taken an interest in patient-doctor relationships and how to improve them.