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Stress Echocardiography is a procedure that uses ultrasound imaging to evaluate how well the heart and blood vessels are working to pump blood in the body. It is commonly called Stress Echo.
Some instances that require this test to be performed are:
• To follow a Valve Disease progress over a period of time
• Irregular heartbeats
• Heart making abnormal sounds
• To detect whether a heart attack has damaged the heart muscle
• Chest pain or pressure that cannot be explained
• To check the dimensions of the heart
• Enlarged heart
• To detect fluid or inflammation around the heart
• Shortness of breath
• To check the functioning of heart, including artificial heart
• To check how effective a certain heart treatment is
• To check tumors and blood-clots in the heart
Not allowed to eat or drink hours before the procedure in the case of TEE, though TTE requires no special preparation.
• A sedative along with an anaesthetic is given to numb the throat, so that the patient is comfortable during the test.
• A scope down the esophagus is inserted, as it carries a device that sends sound waves out.
• This method gives a clearer picture of the heart than TTE.
• This is the one mostly used. Here a transducer is placed on the ribs that are near the breastbone and then is directed to the heart. This device, which sends sound waves of high frequency, is moved to different locations on the abdominal wall and the chest.
• The sound wave echoes are picked up by the transducer and then transmitted as electrical impulses, which are converted into moving pictures by the echocardiography machine. Still pictures are taken too.
• The blood-motion through the heart is recorded by a Doppler Echocardiogram.
• In case the sound waves are blocked by the Chest Wall bones, lungs, body tissue, or ribs, resulting in lack of clarity in the pictures, a little amount of liquid might be injected by the cardiographer.
• The gel is cleaned from the chest.
• The test results are discussed with the patient by the sonographer or the doctor.
TEE might carry some risks as this technique is invasive. Your sonographer or doctor will tell you about the possible risks. TTE carries no known risks.