COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update Learn More

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

CentraCare care givers have been working around the clock for more than 20 months to care for you, your families and friends during COVID. We are committed to caring for every Minnesotan who needs us, and nothing will prevent us from doing so – even during these never-seen-before times.

The challenge of providing this level of care is that our hospital beds are often full. ERs in all of our hospitals are packed. And our clinical teams are exhausted. Early in the pandemic, our community stepped up in amazing ways to help us. We ask that you again join us in fighting this pandemic together.

How can you help?

  • Please get your COVID vaccines and booster shots. They are proven safe and effective in reducing COVID illness, keeping people out of the hospital, and preventing death.
  • If your situation is not an emergency, please use other care options, including:
  • If this is a medical emergency, call 9-1-1, or visit the ER.

Together, we can do this. Thank you for your support.

Ken Holmen, MD
President and CEO

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.