STRESS ECHOCARDIOGRAPHY MEANS AN ULTRASOUND IMAGING OF THE HEART UNDER STRESS, AND STRESS IS ACHIEVED BY:
- Physical exercise
- Medication (pharmacologic stress)
In our Polyclinic, we do the stress echocardiography under physical exercise.
ADVANTAGES OF THE EXERCISE STRESS ECHOCARDIOGRAPHY:
- Cardiac stress response is induced in a natural way
- Side effects that may occur on administration of certain medication are avoided
- Unnecessary exposure to major radioactive radiation (as is the case with myocardial scintigraphy) is avoided
Disadvantage of the exercise stress echocardiography is that it cannot be performed with immobile patients.
ACCORDING TO THE PROTOCOL OF THE SV.NIKOLA POLYCLINIC, THE TEST IS DIVIDED INTO 4 STAGES:
- Ultrasound imaging of the heart at rest
- Stress test – ergometry
- Ultrasound imaging of the heart immediately after stress
- Analysis and comparison of the u/s images of the heart, analysis of the ergometry and conclusion.
Patient must be present in the first three stages, and the whole procedure takes about half an hour.
Ergometry (2) is, typically, employed to monitor ECG, arterial blood pressure and patient’s condition during the physical exercise. This part is identical to the classical ergometry. In our Polyclinic, exercise stress may be done using a treadmill or cycle ergometer (bike).
Ultrasound analysis (1,3) is made using all classical and cutting-edge methods of cardiac ultrasound available (motility of the heart wall, strain analysis, tissue Doppler etc.)
Analysis (4) may, in some patients, take up to an hour so that the written finding is frequently obtained at a later date.
ERGOMETRY IS A VERY VALUABLE AND USEFUL TEST THAT, IN MANY CASES, CAN SAVE PATIENT’S LIFE.
BUT…CAN WE DO BETTER THAN THAT?
WHAT IS THE ADVANTAGE OF STRESS ECHOCARDIOGRAPHY OVER ERGOMETRY?
- By stress echocardiography, we can detect the earliest changes in the function of the heart, which is not possible by any other method available.
- When ergometry is not adequate: Sometimes the ergometer test provides no clear indicators of a heart disease, but by comparing the ultrasound images captured before and after the stress, we can clearly see the differences. In such cases, we can slow the progression of the disease in time, act on the health of the heart, and establish the need for further monitoring and sometimes for further tests.
- In borderline results of ergometric testing: When ergometry (more accurately, ECG) reveals certain (possible) indications of heart disease, the patients concerned are (unnecessarily) referred to further tests that are invasive and/or involving radiation (coronary angiography, MSCT coronary angiography, myocardial scintigraphy). Stress echocardiography may eliminate need for such tests in some patients because the ECG shows borderline changes, but the ultrasound analysis is normal.
- A more precise insight into the heart’s health: By using the most up-to-date apparatus and sophisticated methods, we obtain important results and gain insight into the condition of the heart for extra 10 minutes only of patient’s time!
In our practice, we mainly use exercise stress echocardiography and not ergometry alone because with a little bit more effort and a little bit more time spared by patient, we get immensely valuable results!
WHY HAVE A STRESS ECHOCARDIOGRAPHY TEST DONE AT THE SVETI NIKOLA POLYCLINIC?
Our Prim.Dr. Mila Jakovljević, PhD was the first in Croatia, 30 years ago, to do stress echocardiography tests, and she has transferred her experience and knowledge to our expert team.
As the result of continuous investing in medical equipment and education home and abroad, today we are proud to offer a quality and safe testing at our Polyclinic.