Preparation for the test
On the day of the test please arrive in time to complete a consent form.
Fasting: Strict fasting is not required, however it is recommended that patients avoid a heavy meal within 2 hours of the test.
Medication: Some medications can reduce the sensitivity of the test results. It’s usual to stop taking these medications 2 days prior to your stress echocardiogram. Please check with your doctor if it is appropriate for you to stop any medication before this test.
Medications you should cease include:
Metoprolol: (eg Betaloc, Minax, Lopressor, Metohexal)
Atenolol: (eg Tenormin, Noten)
Sotolol: (eg Sotacor, Sotahexal)
Propranolol: (eg Inderal)
Do NOT stop taking Bisoprolol, Carvedilol or Nebivolol unless specifically told to do so by your doctor or heart specialist.
Calcium Channel Blockers:
Verapamil: (eg Isoptin, Veradil, Anpec, Cordilox, Veracaps SR, Tarka)
Diltiazem: (eg Cardizem, Vasocardol)
Amlodipine: (eg Norvasc)
Felodipine: (eg Plendil)
Important notes regarding your medication:
- Do NOT stop taking medications other than those listed above
- If you are unsure about whether to stop medications, please check with your doctor or pharmacist
IMPORTANT: Do NOT just stop taking ALL your medications, as this can be dangerous
- Please bring a list of your medications on the day of the test
- If you feel unwell after ceasing medication(s) for this test, please contact your doctor for advice.
Uncommonly, the referring doctor may request that the test be conducted whilst the patient is still taking some of the above medications. This should be clearly stated on the test referral.
Please wear comfortable shoes for walking.
Female patients are required to change into a hospital gown, however lower clothing remains in place. Ladies please wear separate upper and lower clothing (not a dress).
A Stress Echocardiogram is a combination of heart ultrasound and a treadmill stress test.
The examination takes approximately 30 minutes and involves a brief Echocardiogram followed by walking on the treadmill.
The treadmill workload is gradually increased until the patient is fatigued, and then further brief heart ultrasound is performed.
Risks of the test
The type of ultrasound used in the test is not harmful, and there is no radiation. No medication is given for the test.
Risks for this test are low, and are related to exercising on the treadmill. The amount of risk varies with each patient and depends on:
- Patient age
- General health
- Health of the heart muscle
- State of the coronary arteries
- Previous cardiac surgery
- State of the heart valves
Some of the more serious risks include:
- Death (approximately 1 in 10,000 tests)
- Any of the following: (approximately 2-3 in 10,000 tests)
- Major heart arrhythmia requiring resuscitation
- Heart failure
- Prolonged angina
- Heart attack
The test will be supervised by a Cardiac Technologist and a Cardiac Nurse, both trained in Advanced Cardiac Life Support.
After the test
There are no special requirements for the patient after the test. No drugs are given, so patients can drive as normal. If you have stopped taking medication for this test, please resume medication as normal.
Echocardiogram images will be sent to one of our Senior Cardiologists for assessment in Melbourne. Results are typically back with the referring doctor within five days.
If your results are urgently required due to pending treatment or consultation, please let us know and we’ll do our best to meet your deadline.