This is an ultrasound test of your heart that requires you to have echo imaging before and after exercise. You should plan on spending at least one hour from your arrival at the office until you leave.
Stress Echocardiography is a technique that uses sound waves to create pictures of the heart. These pictures allow physicians the ability to:

  • Assess the overall wall motion function of your heart.
  • Determine the presence of many types of heart disease and to evaluate the effectiveness of medical or surgical treatments.
  • Diagnostic evaluation of pictures prior to and after exercise for proper diagnosis and treatment.

*While these are the most common reasons, other reasons might obviously lead to appropriate testing.


Three hour fasting is required prior to this test. Only water. Please take your usual medications as prescribed by your physician.


A cardiac ultrasonographer will ask you to remove your clothing from the waist up and change into an examination gown. Electrodes will be placed on your chest to allow the sonographer and nurse to monitor your heart’s electrical activity during the study. You will be asked to lie on your left side on a special ultrasound table. The sonographer will place a hand-held wand (a scanning device called an ultrasound transducer) on several areas of your chest. The wand will have a small amount of clear gel on the end. The gel may feel cool, but will not harm your skin. The test will take between 30 and 45 minutes to complete.
Please take your usual medications unless instructed by your physician.

NOTE: Do not discontinue any medication without first talking with your physician. If you have any questions, please feel free to call our office at (586) 468-8500. Thank you. 

  • Bring your insurance card and any other third-party payor information with you to our office. Even if we are not contracted providers with your insurance plan, if you wish for us to provide courtesy billing to them for you to be reimbursed, you must have these with you.
  • Bring the completed patient registration information sheet and health history questionnaire with you to our office at the time of your appointment.
  • Bring any old or prior medical records that you can or arrange to have them sent to us prior to your appointment. This is especially important if you are seeing the doctor in consultation or in second opinion.

What happens during the test?

Your exercise stress test will take place in the Echo Lab. First, a nurse will gently rub ten small areas on your chest with an alcohol swab and place electrodes (small, flat, sticky patches) on these areas. The electrodes are attached to an electrocardiograph monitor (EKG) that charts your heart’s electrical activity during the test. Before you start exercising, the nurse will perform a resting EKG, measure your resting heart rate and take your blood pressure. Resting pictures will be obtained, under the supervision of your doctor, the nurse will ask you to start exercising and gradually increase your rate of exercise. You will be asked to exercise until your target heart rate is achieved or until fatigued. At regular intervals, the nurse will ask how you are feeling. Please tell them if you feel chest, arm or jaw pain or discomfort, short of breath, dizzy, lightheaded or if you have any other unusual symptoms. The nurse will watch for any changes on the EKG monitor that suggest the test should be stopped. Please inform the staff when you think you can only go another 15-20 seconds and they will begin slowing down the machine. Your heart rate, blood pressure and EKG will continue to be monitored after exercising until the levels are returning to normal.

How will I feel during the test?

You will be encouraged to exercise until your target heart rate is achieved. It is normal for your heart rate, blood pressure, breathing and perspiration to increase. This information will allow your physician to assess your heart’s ability to function. As you stop exercising suddenly, it is normal to feel a little unsteady when getting off the treadmill. If you begin to notice chest discomfort, excessive shortness of breath, lightheadedness, irregular heart beats or other symptoms of concern, tell the stress nurse immediately. Echo imaging will take place before and after exercises, with a determined time of 60 seconds after exercise. You will be asked to move quickly on to the echo table after exercising is done. The nurse will monitor your heart rate.

How long does the test take?

The appointment will take about 30-45 minutes although individuals can exercise on the treadmill from anywhere between 2 minutes to 15 minutes depending on age and level of fitness.

If you have any questions, please feel free to call our office at (586) 468-8500.