We have updated our Birchmount Hospital phone lines. When you call through the main line (416-495-2400), you will need to add “7” when dialing an extension.

Stress Tests

Exercise Stress Echocardiography

An exercise stress echocardiogram is a test where pictures of the heart are taken at rest and then while recovering after reaching the highest heart rate after walking on a treadmill. The test is used to assess heart function with exercise and determine how well blood and oxygen get through the arteries to the heart muscle.

What should I do to prepare for the test?

  • Many people find it uncomfortable to exercise on a full stomach so we ask that you do not have a large meal two hours before the test. You may have fluids and small snacks in this time period.
  • Wear comfortable, loose clothing, as well as running shoes or good walking shoes.
  • Continue to take your usual medications as prescribed by your doctor, unless told otherwise.
  • Please bring a list of your current medications.

How long is the Test?

The test takes 45 to 60 minutes to complete from start to finish.

What will happen during the test?

  • You will be given a complete explanation of the test with time for questions and a consent to begin the test.
  • There will be a sonographer and ECG technician in the room. The doctor may not be in the room but will be available next door if needed at any time.
  • The ECG technician will place electrodes on your chest—your heart rhythm and blood pressure will be monitored throughout.
  • The sonographer will take images of your heart at various times.
  • If you are having a treadmill test, the ECG technician will familiarize you with the treadmill and demonstrate how to walk on it. The speed and slope of the treadmill will change every three minutes until a target heart rate (determined by age) has been reached.

  • The test will be read and reported by a cardiologist, and that report will go to your doctor.
  • The sonographer and ECG technician in the room are not able to provide you with test results.
  • The cardiologist will provide you with a preliminary report before you leave the testing area.

Dobutamine Stress Echocardiography

A dobutamine stress echocardiogram (DSE) is a test performed to evaluate your heart. The test involves an echocardiogram, which is an ultrasound of your heart, an electrocardiogram (ECG), and the use of a medication called dobutamine.

The DSE compares the performance of your heart at rest to the performance of your heart during or stress. This can be helpful in the diagnosis of cardiac disease in the early stages of development or to assess the progress of patients with known cardiac disease. Dobutamine is used to simulate your heart’s functioning during exercise and is often used when a patient cannot perform strenuous exercise or because the physician specifically ordered this test.

Before the test

  • Take your medications as scheduled
  • If you are taking a Beta-Blocker, you may be asked not to take it 24 to 48 hours before the test. Your physician can advise you if stopping this medication is appropriate. Beta-Blockers include: Atenolol (Tenormin), Metoprolol (Lopressor), Nadolol (Corgard), Propranolol (Inderal), or Carvedilol (Coreg)
  • If you have any questions about your medications, please call your physician.
  • You may eat prior to the test, but we advise you to only eat a light meal. A full stomach is not advisable.

The nurse and/or physician will explain the test to you and answer any questions you may have. The physician will be in the department throughout the entire test. An intravenous (IV) line will be placed in your arm for the medication. Throughout the test, you will be closely monitored. The medication will be increased slowly until you reach a heart rate as if you were exercising.

You will most likely be able to go home without any restrictions.

Return to your medications that may have been stopped for the test.

You may want to have a family member or friend drive you home.

  • The test will be read and reported by a cardiologist, and that report will go to your doctor.
  • The sonographer and ECG technician in the room are not able to provide you with test results.
  • The cardiologist will provide you with a preliminary report before you leave the testing area.

Exercise Stress MIBI

An exercise stress MIBI is a test where pictures of the heart (using a Nuclear camera) are taken at rest and then while recovering after reaching the highest heart rate after walking on a treadmill. The test is used to assess blood flow to the heart with exercise.

What should I do to prepare for the test?

  • Many people find it uncomfortable to exercise on a full stomach so we ask that you do not have a large meal two hours before the test. You may have fluids and small snacks in this time period.
  • Please DO NOT drink any beverages with caffeine nor take any medications that contain caffeine for 24 hours prior to the test.
  • Wear comfortable, loose clothing, as well as running shoes or good walking shoes.
  • Continue to take your usual medications as prescribed by your doctor, unless told otherwise.
  • Please bring a list of your current medications.

How long is the test?

The test takes approximately 2-3 hours to complete from start to finish.

What will happen during the test?

  • You will be given a complete explanation of the test with time for questions and a consent form to sign before beginning the test.
  • You will begin in the Nuclear department to have resting pictures of your heart. Then you will be taken to the Cardiac Diagnostics department for the exercise portion.
  • There will be a Nuclear and ECG technician in the room. The doctor is in the immediate vicinity and will be available if needed at any time.
  • The ECG technician will place electrodes on your chest—your heart rhythm and blood pressure will be monitored throughout.
  • The ECG technician will familiarize you with the treadmill and demonstrate how to walk on it. The speed and slope of the treadmill will change every three minutes until a target heart rate (determined by age) has been reached.
  • Once completed, you will then be taken again to the Nuclear department to have a second set of pictures of your heart which will be compared to the resting pictures.

  • The test will be read and reported by a cardiologist, and that report will go to your doctor.
  • The Nuclear and ECG technician in the room are not able to provide you with test results.

Persantine MIBI

A Persantine MIBI is a test where pictures of the heart (using a Nuclear camera) are taken at rest and then while recovering after an injection of Persantine. The test is used to assess blood flow to the heart muscle.

What should I do to prepare for the test?

  • Some people experience mild nausea so we ask that you do not have a large meal two hours before the test. You may have fluids and small snacks in this time period.
  • Please DO NOT drink any beverages with caffeine nor take any medications that contain caffeine for 24 hours prior to the test.
  • Continue to take your usual medications as prescribed by your doctor, unless told otherwise.
  • Please bring a list of your current medications.

How long is the test?

The test takes approximately 2-3 hours to complete from start to finish.

What will happen during the test?

  • You will be given a complete explanation of the test with time for questions and a consent form to sign before beginning the test.
  • You will begin in the Nuclear department to have resting pictures of your heart. Then you will be taken to the Cardiac Diagnostics department for the Persantine portion.
  • There will be a Nuclear and ECG technician in the room. The doctor is in the immediate vicinity and will be available if needed at any time.
  • The ECG technician will place electrodes on your chest—your heart rhythm and blood pressure will be monitored throughout.
  • Over the course of 4 minutes, you will be given an injection to imitate exercise. Afterwards, as needed, a medication can be given to reverse the effects of the Persantine.
  • Once completed, you will then be taken again to the Nuclear department to have a second set of pictures of your heart which will be compared to the resting pictures.

  • The test will be read and reported by a cardiologist and that report will go to your doctor.
  • The Nuclear and ECG technician in the room are not able to provide you with test results.