When you suspect you may have a heart condition, you need to see a heart specialist. The specialist will perform a general exam and will likely order an echocardiogram or what is called a “stress echo,” which is slightly different. At Brookhaven Heart, we believe in providing our patients with all the information they need to make informed choices regarding their health. One of the most common questions we receive at our office is the difference between an echocardiogram and a stress echo. Why do doctors order one over the other? Here are a few reasons why.
Heart Problems Occasionally Don’t Show Up with Normal Echocardiograms
If your heart specialist suspects that you may have a condition like heart disease, the signs of heart trouble may not appear unless the heart is put under stress, like during exercising. First, you are given a regular echocardiogram to determine a baseline of how your heart pumps blood while at rest. Then a second test is given either while you are walking on a treadmill or after you are given a drug that will cause your heart to pump faster. This second test is compared to the first test and then sent to your heart specialist to determine the best course of treatment.
Why Perform a Normal Echocardiogram?
Some heart conditions do not need the addition of stress to diagnose. Your heart specialist will be able to make the determination whether to order a stress echo or a regular echocardiogram to make a proper diagnosis. If you would like to clarify whether a stress echo will be needed in your case, it is best to speak with your doctor.