How Much Does a Stress Test with Echo Cost?

Written by: Staff

According to statistics, the leading death-causing illness in the United States is heart disease.  The heart’s main function is pumping blood to the lungs and allowing blood to circulate throughout the human body.  Various heart diseases can incapacitate the heart.

With the availability of advanced technology, doctors today can easily do a heart examination and identify the disease simply by listening to the heartbeat and analyzing blood pressure.  This has become feasible by the very comprehensive echo stress test.

The symptoms most heart patients experience may be minimal, and the heart may appear to be normal in an ECG test; this is because different heart diseases are likely to remain cloaked in our heart to surface only when triggered.  For that reason, a more cutting-edge test is essential to comprehend the heart’s current state.  In order to find out if the heart is in good condition, the echo stress test exposes it to stress.  The heart will be conclusively subjected to artificial stress which helps in determining cardiac fitness.

Ekg by Helge V. Keitel, on Flickr
Ekg” (CC BY 2.0) by Helge V. Keitel

How much does a stress test with echo cost?

On average, without insurance, an echo stress test can cost $750 to $2,500.

Stress test with echo overview

This test will either be performed in a hospital or physician’s office setting.

A physician will perform this test to find out how much stress a heart is able to manage before developing an abnormal heart rhythm.  The most common form will be via an exercise stress test.   During this test, it will help a physician determine how the heart is acting during the test as it allows the doctor to see how the heart is acting during physical stress instead of a resting rate.

The echo stress test is divided into three parts: the resting echo study, the stress test and repeat echo when the heart is beating quickly.  During the resting portion, sticky patches or electrodes will be attached to the shoulder and chest area.  Laying in various positions, the doctor will pay close attention to the wall movement and record/time various cardiac events.  The exercise portion will consist of running on a treadmill, usually starting at a slower speed/incline and increasing as the time goes on.  This test will stop when you meet your heart’s 85 percent target rate, and while on the treadmill, EKG recordings will be made, along with your blood pressure.  Lastly, the echo portion is immediately repeated once the treadmill stops and will be compared side by side via video.

Once the examination is done, your doctor will analyze the reports.  If the scan indicates abnormal echo stress test results, your doctor will discuss the next course of action.  This will depend on the type of heart disease he has discovered.

A consultation generally comes included as well.  This is your opportunity to discuss your options with your doctor.  He or she will explain all the potential problems, limitations and how to improve your lifestyle.

Doctors will recommend this test to help diagnose an artery disease, heart rhythm problem or an arrhythmia.  It can also help treat many heart disorders such as valvular heart disease.

The entire test should take 90 to 120 minutes.

Tips to know

Providence Health and Services noted treadmill tests can be 60 to 80 percent accurate, while an echo test can be up to 90 percent accurate.

The American College of Cardiology notes that stress tests should only be performed on patients who have peripheral artery disease or diabetics older than 40 years old who have an increased risk of coronary artery disease.

Try to avoid heavy meals at least three to five hours before the procedure.  This can become uncomfortable while running.

How can I save money?

Paying for an echo stress test is really only necessary if you are experiencing warning signs for a possible ailment, if you have a family history of heart disease, or if you are getting older or overweight.  It is sensible to take the test just to be safe since it is the best way to track the pain area in the heart.  If you have chest pain or are unable to respire normally, it is better to get yourself tested rather than suffering from a fatal disease. However, you can’t really put a price tag on a risk for a possible heart attack.  If a specialist recommends you take a stress echo test, then you should do it.  The purpose of this test is to determine heart problems that transpire only with bodily activity.   This way, you and your doctor can find a way to lessen if not eliminate your heart attack risk.  When it comes to cardiovascular health, you should be all ears to medical professionals. Most people would agree that avoiding a heart attack is worth virtually any financial expense.  Your doctor will recommend a stress echo test only if you have a suspiciously problematic heart.

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