Utilizing ultrasound technology, Stress Echo is one of the most modern tests for diagnosing coronary artery disease and highlighting myocardial viability and inotropic reserve.
What is Stress Echo?
It is a fast, reliable and safe examination, which is carried out with a dobutamine loading protocol and administration of a contrast agent (special contrast medium). It offers important information on the functioning of the myocardium and heart valves under stress conditions.
It is usually performed to investigate coronary artery disease and evaluate valvular disease and heart failure. The diagnostic value of the test is much better than the simple fatigue test.
How is it carried out?
The test is similar to a triplex heart ultrasound (echo), but is performed during stress, either by exercising the subject on a treadmill, or by administering a drug that causes an increase in heart rate. Usually, medicated fatigue is preferred, which is achieved by administering dobutamine and simultaneously recording the electrocardiogram and blood pressure.
Possibly, during the examination which lasts about 40 minutes, the examinee may feel his heart beating strongly and rapidly, but it is not painful or unpleasant.
Is there any preparation?
Before the examination, consult your cardiologist about possible discontinuation of any medication 2 days before the examination. Usually, these are drugs that lower the heart rate such as beta-blockers. However, it is important not to stop a medication on your own.
• You can eat a light meal 2-3 hours before the examination.
• Avoid drinking coffee and tobacco a few hours before the examination.
• It is a good idea to provide some information about your history (doctor’s note / previous tests / result of previous coronary angiography or surgery) as well as information about the medication you are taking.
• If you are going to undergo exercise instead of medicated fatigue, prefer comfortable clothes and shoes.
Who is it contraindicated for?
Stress echo is a very safe test and the risk is very low. However, not all people can undergo a stress echo. Ventricular arrhythmias, severe aortic stenosis, unstabilized unstable angina are some of the absolute contraindications to performing the test.
Its implementation is forbidden to those who experience an asthma attack, to those who have low blood pressure and pulses that do not exceed 40 per minute, and to those who have uncontrolled hypertension. Taking dipyridamole in the last 24 hours and caffeine 12 hours before the test are also contraindications.
What happens after the exam?
After the test is completed, pulses return to normal levels within a few minutes. The examinee will need to remain in the waiting area for approximately 30 minutes. He can then withdraw and return to his daily schedule with the only restriction being to avoid drinking coffee for about 2 hours.
Where can I contact?
The Stress Echo test is one of the innovative services offered by advanced diagnostic centers HealthSpot. In Kifissia, Peristeri and Glyfada the HealthSpots were created by Hellenic Healthcare Group (HHG), the largest private health services group in the country and are equipped with state-of-the-art technology, staffed by highly trained and specialized doctors, highly trained nursing and paramedical staff. HealthSpot is in open communication with the clinics of the Hellenic Healthcare Group (Health, Metropolitan Hospital, Mother, Metropolitan General, Leto, Creta InterClinic) offering the possibility of performing diagnostic tests and visiting a Group doctor.
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