Stress echocardiography. Part I: Stress echocardiography in coronary heart disease
J Ultrason 2019; 19: 45–48.
DOI: 10.15557/JoU.2019.0006
ABSTRACT

Stress echocardiography (stress echo) is a method in which various stimuli are used to elicit myocardial contractility or provoke cardiac ischemia with simultaneous echocardiographic image acquisition of left ventricular function and valvular flow, if needed. The technique is a well-recognized, safe and widely available stress test used for the diagnosis and assessment of prognosis in coronary heart disease, but may also prove valuable in valvular heart disease. The stressors used include physical exercise, pharmacological agents (dobutamine, vasodilators) and pacing stress, most often with the use of a permanent pacemaker. Two operators should perform the test: a physician experienced in stress echocardiography (at least 100 tests completed under supervision of an expert) and a trained nurse or another doctor. The laboratory should feature a defibrillator and a resuscitation kit with a set of pharmaceuticals, an intubation kit and an AMBU bag. Pacing stress echo requires an external programmer for the implanted permanent pacemaker. Exercise should be the preferred stressor for the diagnosis of ischemic heart disease with alternative of high-dose dobutamine test in cases of contraindications to physical stress. Pacing stress echo is recommended for patients with pacemakers, and dipyridamole test for the assessment of coronary flow reserve. Chest pain in patients with intermediate probability of coronary artery disease, inability to perform physical exercise and non-diagnostic resting or exercise electrocardiography are indications for stress echo. The test is also used in symptomatic patients after revascularization or patients qualified for revascularization for functional assessment of coronary artery stenosis. Low-dose dobutamine test is usually performed in patients after myocardial infarction or with moderate-to-severe left ventricular dysfunction to assess myocardial viability before potential revascularization.

Key words: stress echocardiography, ischemia, viability, dobutamine, dipyridamole