Exercise Echocardiography

Normal cardiac function at rest and during exercise depends upon adequate blood supply to the heart muscle. Blood is supplied to the heart’s pumping chambers, or ventricles, by the coronary arteries. Disease in one or more of the coronary arteries may result in poor blood supply to the ventricles, causing reduced function in the territory supplied by that artery. Such areas of reduced function can be visualized by echocardiography. Exercise echocardiography is an excellent diagnostic tool for patients with concerning symptoms either at rest or with exertion.

During exercise echocardiography, an initial echocardiogram is obtained at rest. Patients then exercise on a treadmill, during which vital signs and electrocardiograms are monitored continuously by one of our cardiologists. A second echocardiogram is then obtained at peak exercise, and the resting and exercise images are compared side-by-side. In this manner, new areas of reduced function that were not present at rest can be identified.

All of our physicians are board-certified to perform exercise stress tests and to interpret echocardiographic images. The test results, and any further diagnostic and treatment recommendations, such as cardiac catheterization, will usually be communicated to you immediately at the conclusion of the test.

Patient Instructions Before Testing and Procedures