Pediatric stress echocardiography

Pediatr Cardiol. 2002 May-Jun;23(3):347-57. doi: 10.1007/s00246-001-0198-5.


Traditional health evaluations are performed while the patient is at rest. Stress echocardiography extends these examinations by providing data in a physiologic setting more closely mimicking the typically active state of children. The test represents a fusion of the fields of two-dimensional echocardiography and cardiovascular stress testing and can be used to assess myocardial perfusion in patients with suspected coronary artery pathology or to evaluate cardiac gradients or functional reserve in patients with noncoronary artery pathology. Testing should be performed with a trained sonographer and attending physician and in collaboration with adult cardiology colleagues. Stress can be administered to the patient through either exercise or pharmacologic agents. Echocardiography is used to assess regional wall motion abnormalities when evaluating myocardial perfusion or gradients and/or function when assessing the patient without coronary artery issues. Conditions with potential coronary artery pathology for which stress echocardiography is appropriate include Kawasaki disease, transplant graft vasculopathy, arterial switch operation for transposition of the great arteries, anomalous coronary artery origins or courses, pulmonary atresia with intact ventricular septum, hyperlipidemia, insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, and supravalvar aortic stenosis. Stress echocardiography can also be helpful in determining the behavior during activity of gradients in conditions such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy or aortic and pulmonic stenosis, of cardiac pressures in pulmonary hypertension and of ventricular function in conditions such as dilated cardiomyopathy or mitral and aortic regurgitation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Echocardiography, Stress* / instrumentation
  • Echocardiography, Stress* / standards
  • Heart / drug effects
  • Heart / physiopathology*
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / diagnostic imaging*
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Myocardial Ischemia / diagnostic imaging*
  • Myocardial Ischemia / physiopathology
  • Myocardium / pathology