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Echocardiography (ECG) - exercise stress test overview

Exercise is a common source of physiological stress, and it places great demands on the cardiovascular system. To ensure that the heart and other muscles receive adequate blood flow and oxygen, to maintain increased activity levels, cardiac output must increase up to six-fold through a combination of increased heart rate and stroke volume. Although a diseased or damaged heart may be able to meet cardiovascular demand at rest, it may struggle to do so as demand increases during exercise. The exercise stress test is a non-invasive diagnostic procedure that evaluates the heart’s response to the demands of exercise under carefully controlled conditions, in order to obtain information about overall cardiovascular health and function. The test uses electrocardiography (ECG) to measure changes in heart rate and electrical impulses, which may be indicative of cardiovascular illness. The information provided by an exercise stress test can be used to establish diagnosis, predict prognosis, assess disease progression, and evaluate treatment outcomes for a variety of cardiopulmonary and neuromuscular disorders. In addition to its clinical utility, the ready availability of inexpensive testing equipment continues to make the exercise stress test one of the most useful and practical diagnostic techniques in cardiovascular medicine. There are two main types of exercise stress tests: standard exercise stress tests, and imaging exercise stress tests.

Echocardiography (ECG) - exercise stress test overview

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