Why did my doctor order a stress echocardiogram?
What preparations will I need to make?
How is the test administered?
How long will the procedure last?
What will the recovery be like?
What happens after the test?
Will my insurance cover this?
Who should I contact with questions about this test?
1. Why did my doctor order a stress echocardiogram?
Your doctor asked you to take a stress echocardiogram at Advocate Christ Medical Center to look for evidence of previous heart muscle damage and to find out if there are areas of your heart muscle, which have impaired blood supply. Occasionally, a stress echocardiogram may also be used to assess the function of one or more of the heart valves with exercise, particularly when one of the valves is "leaky."
2. What preparations will I need to make?
You will be asked not to eat or drink anything for about two hours prior to the test. You will be asked to wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothing and shoes.
If you are on beta blockers, ie., Tenormin, Toporol, Lopressor, Inderal, Corgard, Visken, Lanoxin or Digoxin, check with your physician to see if you should stop taking them for 12 hours before your test.
Do not stop any of your medications unless your physician tells you to do so before the test.
3. How is the test administered?
You will be hooked up to an electrocardiogram (EKG) monitor, which records your heart rhythm throughout the test. Ultrasound pictures of the heart will be obtained before exercise, when the heart is at rest. You will then be asked to walk on a treadmill at progressively increasing speeds and angles of incline. Your blood pressure and heart rhythm will be monitored during this time.
When you are very tired, but not exhausted, or you experience more than moderate shortness of breath, chest discomfort, or other significant symptoms, the treadmill will be stopped. You will then be asked to get back onto the ultrasound table as quickly as possible, so that the ultrasound pictures of the heart can be obtained when the heart is still beating rapidly after exercise, within the first minute after exercise is stopped.
The normal response to exercise is for the heart to pump more vigorously. If there are portions of the heart muscle that don't pump as well after exercise, this suggests that these portions of the heart have impaired blood supply.
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4. How long will the procedure last?
The test takes approximately one hour.
5. What will the recovery be like?
There is no real recovery period. You will be free to leave after a short rest following the test.
6. What happens after the test?
The cardiologist may be able to provide a preliminary report of the results at the time of testing, or may want to study the pictures in more detail before giving a final report. He or she will then have you schedule a follow-up office visit.
7. Will my insurance cover this?
Depending on the type of coverage, most commercial insurance carriers will pay the major share of the cost. You should always consult your insurance company to determine proper coverage.
8. Who should I contact with questions about this test?
Feel free to consult your doctor.
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