Resting Echo's, Stress Echo's and Pre-operative Assessments

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Conveniently offered to our patients within our Karalta Rd Practice, a stress echo is performed to investigate known or suspected coronary artery disease, chest pain, shortness of breath, as part of a heavy vehicle or aviation license or as a pre anaesthetic work up etc.

What will happen during the procedure?

You will be asked to undress to the waist so the nurse can attach 10 electrodes to various places across your front upper chest after which female patients will be given a gown to put on with the opening to the front. The doctor will then take some images of your heart before you walk on the treadmill. The treadmill starts off slowly and on a slight hill and the level of exercise increases every 2-3 minutes. Please report any symptoms (i.e. chest pain, dizziness) you experience during the exercise or recovery phase. Once you have finished the treadmill test some more images will be taken. Your heart, blood pressure and ECG will be monitored throughout the test. The stress echo takes half an hour. You can stop the test at any time.

What are the risks?

A stress test is generally safe, and complications are rare. However, as with many medical procedures, there is a risk of complications including:

  • Low blood pressure - Blood pressure may drop during or immediately after exercise, possibly causing you to feel dizzy or faint. The problem should go away after you stop exercising.
  • Abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmia) - Arrhythmias brought on by exercise stress tests usually go away soon after you stop exercising.
  • Heart attack (myocardial infarction) - Although exceedingly rare, it's possible that an exercise stress test could cause a heart attack.

The doctor performing the test is well aware of these risks and we have all necessary equipment to deal with any emergency that may arise. If you have any queries or would like to discuss these risks in more detail, please ask the supervising doctor.