Stress Echo Test

Purpose of the Test

This test is more accurate in finding coronary artery disease than an exercise treadmill test alone. Comparisons between the resting image and exercise image will help your doctor decide if your heart muscle is getting enough blood supply.

Patient Instructions


  • Do not eat solid food 4 hours before the test.
  • Do not have caffeine 12 hours before the test.
  • If you have diabetes and take insulin, ask your primary care doctor about your diet before the test.


  • Do not smoke the morning of the test.


  • Take prescribed medicine unless told not to by your doctor. Bring medicines with you.
  • Do not take erectile dysfunction (ED) medicines 48 hours before the test.


  • Wear shorts, comfortable slacks or sweatpants.
  • Do not wear panty hose.
  • Wear tennis shoes or comfortable walking shoes.

Length of test

  • The test will take 1 to 2 hours.

The Test

  • We will ask you to sign a consent form giving us the go-ahead to do the test.
  • We will prepare the skin on your chest where the electrodes will be placed with a coarse lotion. We may have to shave some hair from the chests of male patients. Doing so ensures the electrodes make good contact with the chest to accurately monitor your heart’s rhythm.
  • We will take resting pictures of your heart using ultrasound waves (echo).
  • We will insert an intravenous (IV) line into your arm or hand. We will use this line to give you a medicine and/or contrast needed for your test.


  • You will then walk on the treadmill.
  • We will monitor your blood pressure, heart rate and EKG throughout the test.
  • Right away after exercising, we will have you quickly lie down on your left side so we can take after-exercise images.


Instead of exercising, you will give you an IV medicine. We will increase the medicine dose at set intervals until the right heart rate is reached. The effects will go away within minutes after stopping the medicine. We will track your blood pressure, heart rate, EKG and echo images throughout the test.

After your stress echocardiogram is done, you can go home (or back to your room) without any restrictions. A specially trained heart doctor will interpret your test results. We will send the results to your doctor within a couple days.

If you have any questions, please call CentraCare Heart & Vascular Center at 320-656-7020 or 800-448-3455.