STRESS - ECHO
DYNAMIC ECHOCARDIOGRAPHY – STRESS ECHO
Stress Echo is a “functional” test we utilize in order to assess the likelihood of coronary artery disease or to evaluate valvular disease.
It is indeed an echocardiogram that is performed at rest and at progressively worsening stress. Stress may be induced by simoultaneous physical exercise (a special test bed is used – ergometric bike) or by the administration of a drug (usually dobutamine).
Simoultaneously with the echocardiographic study, electrocardiogram is continuously recorded and monitored; the patient is asked to report any development of symptoms such as chest pain or shortness of breath. Today, functional tests that include imaging, such as stress echo, are the functional test of choice (as compared to the traditional stress test utilizing a treadmill). In the case of valvular disease evaluation, it is preferred that “stress” corresponds to stress literally induced by physical exercise.
As with the traditional treadmill stress test, stess-echo should not be performed in conditions where acute disease is suspected (such as acute coronary aretery disease or myocarditis or in conditions) or when the risk of complications is increased e.g. severe aortic valve stenosis.