Patient Info

Exercise Stress Echocardiogram (ESE)

An exercise stress echocardiogram (ESE) is a test that combines a standard treadmill exercise stress test with echo images of the heart and usually takes up to 45 minutes. Your doctor will advise you if you need to make any changes to your medication before the test. You do not need to fast but it is best not to eat immediately before the test. A full echocardiogram is performed at rest before the exercise test and selected echo images of the heart are taken immediately after the stress test. This allows the cardiologist to compare echo images of the heart at rest and with stress to determine if there are any serious blockages of the coronary arteries. 

Please bring to your appointment comfortable clothes and shoes for walking. Women will be provided with a gown. Shower facilities are available in our Central (Gilgit Rd), Northern Clinic and Totara Health facilities.

You will be asked to lie flat on the examination bed. Sticky electrodes are applied to your chest and an ECG and blood pressure check are performed. A water based gel is applied to the chest area to be examined and a small ultrasound probe is placed on the skin and moved slowly and painlessly over the area until all the necessary images are acquired. You will then be asked to walk on a treadmill at gradually increasing speed and incline although you will not need to jog or run unless you are very comfortable doing so. You will be asked to stop walking if you have chest pain, are too short of breath to continue, if you have painful joints and cannot continue, or if the doctor feels that you have exercised for long enough to get the necessary information. You will then be taken back to the examination bed where further echo images will be obtained. You will then be monitored for at least 3 minutes with regular blood pressure and heart rate checks before being able to get dressed and go home. A shower is available if you wish. The cardiologist will review all the images and ECG’s and will send a full report to your referring doctor.     

The cost of Exercise Stress Echo is covered by most insurance policies. Our secretaries will tell you if there is any charge to you at the time of booking.

Exercise Stress Echo is available at our rooms in:

  • The Heart Group; 1 Gilgit Rd, Epsom
  • Northern Clinic, Southern Cross Hospital; 212-232 Wairau Rd, Glenfield
  • Ormiston Hospital; 125 Ormiston Rd, Botany
  • Totara Health Services; 1 Macrae Way, New Lynn