When Is an Annual Stress Test Necessary?

If you're not having symptoms, yearly tests aren't necessary.


For a healthy, active person in his 60s, is it necessary to have an annual stress test and echocardiogram?


It is not necessary to get a yearly stress test and echocardiogram unless specifically indicated. If you are able to perform moderate to strenuous exercise without any symptoms such as chest pain or shortness of breath on exertion (e.g. swim a mile most days a week or any other form of substantial exercise) it tells us that even if you have atherosclerosis or blockage in your blood vessels to the heart, they are not significant to cause symptoms. However, the greater focus should be to continue living a healthful lifestyle including daily exercise, healthful eating habits (low saturated fat and diet richer in complex carbohydrates, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables) and modification of any cardiac risk factors such as hypertension and smoking. If you have elevated cholesterol and blood pressure based on your risk factors, then you should discuss with your physicians the role of starting any medications to control them.

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