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Stress Echocardiography at UPMC in Central Pa.

Stress echocardiography is a test given while a patient walks on a treadmill or pedals a stationary bike to monitor the heart during exercise.

A stress test helps provide information about how well your heart handles different levels of activity. As your body works harder during the test, your oxygen needs increase, requiring the heart to pump more blood.

Why is the test performed?

The test is performed to see whether your heart muscle is getting enough blood flow and, therefore, enough oxygen when it is working hard (under stress). The results of this stress test can help your doctor:

  • Determine how well a heart treatment is working and, if necessary, change your treatment
  • Determine how well your heart is pumping
  • Diagnose coronary artery disease
  • See whether your heart is too large

Your doctor may request this test if you:

  • Have new symptoms of angina or chest pain or angina that is becoming worse
  • Have recently had a heart attack
  • Are at high risk for heart disease (the test may be ordered before a surgery or when starting a new exercise program.)
  • Have heart valve problems

How is the test performed?

  • Stress echocardiography differs from an exercise stress test, which does not use ultrasound images.
  • First, a resting echocardiogram will be done, and then you will exercise or be given medicine until you reach the target heart rate.
  • A second echocardiogram is taken immediately after your target heart rate has been reached. Ultrasound images will be recorded during the procedure and they will reveal any parts of the heart that may not be receiving enough blood or oxygen because of blocked arteries.
  • Your blood pressure and heart rhythm (EKG) will be monitored throughout the procedure. If you are not able to exercise, you will receive a medication such as dobutamine through a vein (intravenous line). This type of medicine will make your heart beat faster and harder, similar to when you exercise.

How to Prepare

Ask your doctor if you should take any of your routine medicines the day of the test (especially if you are taking heart medication) as some medicines may interfere with test results. Do not eat or drink for at least three hours before the test and be sure to wear loose, comfortable clothing.

What to Expect

  • Electrodes will be placed on your chest, arms, and legs to record the heart's activity and your blood pressure will be monitored before and during the test.
  • You will start to walk on a treadmill or pedal a stationary bike. The pace and incline of the treadmill will gradually be increased. Rarely, people experience chest discomfort, palpitations, dizziness, or shortness of breath during the test.
  • A normal result means that blood flow through the coronary arteries is normal. Abnormal results may result in angioplasty or stent placement, changes to your heart medication, or even bypass surgery depending on the severity of your condition.

Need more information?

Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery Practices
Cumberland/Dauphin/Franklin/Perry Counties: 717-731-0101
Pediatric : 717-761-0200
Hanover: 717-637-1738
York: 717-849-5576
Lancaster/Lititz: 717-299-5000
Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery: 717-231-8555

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UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute
Located at UPMC Outpatient Center
1251 East Main Street
Suite 3
Annville, PA 17003

Adult Cardiology: 717-731-0101
Pediatric Cardiology: 717-761-0200

UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute
360 Alexander Spring Road
Carlisle, PA 17013

Adult Cardiology: 717-243-6557
Pediatric Cardiology: 717-761-0200
Fax: 717-243-0102 

UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute
900 Century Drive
Suite 100
Mechanicsburg, PA 17055

Phone: 717-591-3660 or 800-248-0257
Fax: 717-591-3661

UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute
Located at Medical Professional Center of Newport
300 Bretz Court
Newport, PA 17074

Phone: 717-567-7246 or 800-248-0257
Fax: 717-567-2621 

UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute
2808 Old Post Road
Harrisburg, PA 17110

Adult Cardiology: 717-920-4400
Pediatric Cardiology: 717-761-0200
Fax: 717-920-4401

UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute
12 Saint Paul Drive
Suite 205
Chambersburg, PA 17201

Adult Cardiology: 717-217-6881
Pediatric Cardiology: 717-761-0200
Fax: 717-217-6889

UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute
Located at Commerce Park Professional Center
20 Expedition Trail
Suite 203
Gettysburg, PA 17325

Phone: 717-637-1738
Fax: 717-646-7430

UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute
Located at UPMC Outpatient Center
2201 Brunswick Drive
Hanover, PA 17331

Phone: 717-637-1738
Fax: 717-646-7430 

UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute
16324 Mount Airy Road
Lower Level
Shrewsbury, PA 17361

Phone: 717-849-5576
Fax: 717-718-9972

UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute
1600 6th Avenue
Suite 105
York, PA 17403

Phone: 717-849-5576
Fax: 717-718-9972 

UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute
1555 Highlands Drive
Suite 100
Lititz, PA 17543

Phone: 717-299-5000
Fax: 717-431-1205 

UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute (formerly Cardiac Consultants)
1697 Crown Avenue
Suite 100
Lancaster, PA 17601

Phone: 717-299-5000
Fax: 717-431-1205

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