An echocardiogram with strain gives your healthcare provider a way to diagnose some heart conditions earlier. This newer technique can show less obvious issues with how your heart muscle moves. Providers can use this method to screen people at risk for certain heart issues or monitor those who already have heart conditions.
An echocardiogram with strain is an ultrasound test that takes images of your heart and evaluates the function of your heart muscle (myocardium). Using this newer technique that measures heart muscle length during contraction and relaxation, a healthcare provider can identify subtle changes in your heart function. Finding these mechanical abnormalities (issues with how your heart moves) allows providers to make an earlier diagnosis and make a prognosis (determine a possible outcome for the condition).
Echocardiographic deformation imaging is another name for an echocardiogram with strain.
Providers use this test to:
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A cardiac sonographer will move a handheld device called a transducer over your chest area. The transducer sends high-frequency sound waves (ultrasound) to your heart and transmits them back to the ultrasound machine as live, moving images. This technology gives a provider a comprehensive evaluation of your heart’s function and structure, including the chambers and valves.
Here’s how you can prepare for the test:
The test takes about one hour. It usually takes place in an echocardiogram lab. During an echocardiogram with strain, a cardiac sonographer will:
An echocardiogram isn’t invasive, so you shouldn’t feel any major discomfort during the test. You may:
After the test, you may get dressed and go home or go to your other scheduled appointments. You shouldn’t have any side effects from the test, unless you received medicine to make you sleep during the test.
After a cardiologist reviews your test, they’ll enter the results into your electronic medical record. Your provider will have access to the results and will discuss them with you. They’ll tell you what the images show and whether you need treatment for a heart issue.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Hearing that you need a test on your heart can make you feel uneasy, but an echocardiogram with strain isn’t invasive. Your healthcare provider can get the information they need from an ultrasound device they move across your skin. Feeling the device pressing against your skin is the most discomfort you’ll feel.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 10/31/2022.
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