Stress echocardiography is the combination of 2D echocardiography with a physical, pharmacological or electrical stress. The diagnostic end point for the detection of myocardial ischemia is the induction of a transient worsening in regional function during stress. Stress echocardiography provides similar diagnostic and prognostic accuracy as radionuclide stress perfusion imaging, but at a substantially lower cost, without environmental impact, and with no biohazards for the patient and the physician. Among different stresses of comparable diagnostic and prognostic accuracy, semisupine exercise is the most used, dobutamine the best test for viability, and dipyridamole the safest and simplest pharmacological stress and the most suitable for combined wall motion - coronary flow reserve assessment. The additional clinical benefit of myocardial contrast echocardiography, tissue Doppler imaging and real time 3-D echocardiography has been inconsistent and disappointing, whereas the potential of adding coronary flow reserve evaluation of left anterior descending coronary artery by transthoracic Doppler echocardiography adds another potentially important dimension to stress echocardiography. In spite of its dependence upon operators training, stress echocardiography is today the best possible imaging choice to achieve the still elusive target of sustainable cardiac imaging in the field of noninvasive diagnosis of coronary artery disease.
Keywords: dimensional echocardiography, ischemia, ecg changes, ischemic stressors, dobutamine, dipyridamole, perfusion imaging
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