Stress Echocardiograms

Making use of stress echocardiograms to diagnose heart related diseases

Stress echocardiograms are mostly used on people who are known to have some degree of coronary artery disease or maybe have recently suffered from a heart attack. It can also be used to make sure that the heart is functioning properly before going into surgery or any other treatments.

Stress echocardiograms make use of sound waves generated by the transducers to produce the images of the heart when under stress. The stress can be induced by physical exercises such as jogging on a treadmill, or cycling, etc. or it can be induced artificially by administering drugs to the patient.

The images of the heart are developed under varying conditions of stress to the patient. This can be done by increasing the incline in the treadmill or increasing the difficulty level in the cycle. The heart rate and the blood pressure are also monitored throughout the procedure in order to get the most effective results.

The test is generally conducted in order to make sure that all the parts of the heart are receiving adequate blood and are able to perform their functions efficiently when under stress.

 

The general procedure and protocols followed during stress echocardiography tests

Before undergoing the echocardiogram, the patient must prepare himself/herself by avoiding food or drinks for up to three hours before the procedure. The medical institution then takes the necessary consent from the patient and starts the test.

Electrodes are first attached to the surface of the skin that is used to monitor the heart rate of the patient. The blood pressure is also monitored throughout the procedure with the help of cuffs on the patient’s arms. After making sure that all the equipment is functioning as expected, the echocardiography can then be started.

The first sonograms of the heart are developed when the patient is at the resting stage. While increasing the stress gradually, more images are developed in order to study the condition of the heart when under stress.The test can also be stopped when the patient is unable to proceed with the exercises or is experiencing some symptoms such as chest pain, cramps, etc. The results of the test can then be studied by your consultant cardiologist and any problems related to your heart are explained to you. By addressing the problem at an early stage, you will be able to avoid any serious complications in the future.

The risks associated with stress echocardiography

As it is a minimally invasive procedure, there are no significant risks or side effects as a direct result of it. However, the patient may experience heart symptoms during the test such as dizziness, heightened blood pressure, etc. Due to the stress added on the body, echocardiography can also provoke heart attack in the patient in some extreme cases. However, the chances of high risks from the procedure are very few. A team of expert staff will also be readily monitoring your conditions and will be able to handle any unforeseen circumstances.