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Stress Echocardiography

A stress echo (treadmill) is a combination of an echocardiogram and a treadmill exercise stress test. This test compares  how your heart muscle contracts at rest and then immediately following exercise. It can show if certain areas of the heart muscle are not getting enough oxygen-rich blood, as well as identify cardiac causes of  breathlessness and blackouts.

The stress echo test takes approximately 30 minutes to complete and is conducted in three parts:

  1. A limited baseline echo cardiogram (cardiac ultrasound) is performed with the focus on cardiac function and cardiac problems which can contribute to breathlessness (eg valvular problems, build up of pressure within the heart).
  2. A treadmill exercise stress test is then performed under direct supervision of a Cardiologist.

ECG electrodes are attached across your chest to monitor your heart throughout the test. A blood pressure cuff is applied to your arm to monitor your blood pressure.

The treadmill  test starts slow and increases in incline and speed every 3 minutes.  The exercise is generally patient symptom limited, which means we will continue to make the stress harder until you decide you need to stop, which is usually because of shortness of breath or leg ache. A stress test is the safest environment to push yourself physically  as you are closely monitored under the supervision of a very experienced cardiologist. When you say so, the treadmill is stopped and you move quickly over to the bed.

  1. Immediately after exercise  more echo images of the heart are rapidly acquired over 60-90 seconds. You will then be monitored in a recovery phase for ~ 5 minutes.

Stress echoTo prepare for this test, you must:

  • Eat a light breakfast or lunch.
  • Bring or wear loose-fitting clothing and comfortable walking or jogging shoes.
  • read the list from Melbourne Heart care to know if you need to discontinue medication prior to the test.
  • Sometimes your doctor will specifically want to stress your heart on medications.


Thank you to our patients attending the practice during the Covid-19 pandemic. Your understanding and cooperation with the everchanging policies and procedures we have in place to protect us all and ensure we comply with government guidelines is very much appreciated.

It is important not to neglect your cardiac health during this crisis and we remain committed to providing all our usual services.

If you have symptoms of fever, chills/sweats, cough, runny nose, sore throat, shortness of breath, muscle soreness, loss of sense of smell and taste- we advise you get tested and if needed contact your GP or local Coronavirus hotline on 1800 675 398.

PLEASE DO NOT ATTEND OUR PRACTICE if you have any of the symptoms above or have recently tested Covid-19 positive or awaiting Covid-19 test result or been in contact with someone who has. Please call our team on 9592 2177 to advise. We offer telehealth consulting so you can remain in direct contact with your cardiologist when you cannot attend.

Other measures we are taking include:

We include the following links for your reference: