Echo Stress Lab

The Noninvasive Cardiovascular Lab provides testing during regular working hours and is available for emergency testing 24 hours per day.

1. Echocardiography utilizes ultrasound to visualize the heart. It is used to evaluate the function of the heart and can help identify abnormalities of the valves, chambers and wall motion. A complete echocardiogram includes a doppler study which assesses the blood flow characteristics through the heart and great vessels.

  • The standard echocardiogram (transthoracic) is a noninvasive study obtained by placing a transducer on the patient's chest.
  • Transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE) is an invasive study obtained by placing a transducer into the patient's esophagus and is performed by a cardiologist. TEE is indicated when desired information cannot be obtained by the transthoracic approach.
  • Stress echocardiograms combine exercise to stress the heart with an echocardiogram to assess wall motion of the heart prior to and after exercise.

2. Stress Electrocardiograms (ECGs) are used to help identify problems with blood flow to the heart, blood pressure, and/or electrical activity of the heart. A cardiologist is present throughout the stress test.

  • Stress ECGs are performed by inducing stress on the heart through exercise by walking on a treadmill or bicycling.
  • IV Thallium (Nuclear) Stress ECGs are stress ECGs in which stress is chemically induced rather than exercise induced. These tests are performed when patients are unable to exercise and in instances where adequate increases in heart rate are unobtainable.

3. Holter Monitoring records electrical activity of the heart for an extended period of time, usually 24 hours. The study is scanned in the Echo Lab and interpreted by a cardiologist. 

4. Event Recorders are patient activated devices used to record the electrical activity of the heart. When patient symptoms/events are too infrequent or sporadic to record on a 24 hour monitor, an event recorder may be indicated. When the patient feels palpitations/symptoms, the recorder is placed on the chest and activated to record a 60-90 second rhythm strip of the patient's heartbeat. The recording is transmitted over the telephone to a receiving center at the Heart and Lung Clinic and analyzed by a cardiologist. 

5. he Noninvasive Cardiovascular lab also performs diagnostic vascular testing.

  • Carotid Duplex Ultrasonography utilized two dimensional imaging and doppler to determine the degree of stenosis of the carotid arteries. The subclavian and vertebral arteries are also assessed for flow abnormalities.
  • Venous Duplex Ultrasonography utilized two dimensional imaging and doppler to assess the deep veins of the extremities for venous occlusive disease (thrombus).

6. Ultrasound Guided Thoracentesis uses ultrasound to visualize pleural effusions, assisting physicians in determining the best location to access the pleural effusion during a thoracentesis.

The Echo-Stress Lab is located on the second floor of the Heart and Lung Clinic, and is open Monday-Friday, 7:30 A.M.- 5:00 P.M.