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What Happens During a Pharmacological Stress Echocardiogram?

Clip Number: 6 of 13
Presentation: Pharmacological Stress Echocardiogram
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Reviewed By: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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An echocardiogram or ultrasound is a test that uses sound waves to get a picture of your heart. These sound waves are too high for you to hear, but the "picture" they make can be seen on a special TV screen.
A stress echocardiogram usually has three parts:
First, a resting echocardiogram or ultrasound is performed. Second, your heart will be exercised, with a special drug. And third, another echocardiogram is performed.
When you are ready, you will be asked to lie down and relax on the exam table while a gel is applied to your chest. The echocardiogram will create a picture of your heart at rest by moving a wand-like device over your chest area. This image or picture will show your doctor your heart's internal structures, size and movement on a special TV-like screen.
During part two, you remain on the exam table while a drug used to exercise or work your heart will be given through your IV. You may feel your heart pump faster and stronger as the drug starts working. Your heart's response to this exercise will be watched closely on the EKG monitor and your blood pressure will be checked regularly.
Part three happens at the peak of your heart's activity. At that time, a second echocardiogram will be done to visualize or see your heart's structures and motion while it is exercising.
This second echocardiogram will conclude your stress test.

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