Dobutamine Stress Echocardiogram

Dobutamine Stress Echocardiogram

What is a Dobutamine Stress Echocardiogram (Echo)?

  • A Dobutamine Stress Echo is a non-invasive test used to evaluate coronary artery disease in patients who are unable to exercise on a treadmill.
  • Dobutamine is a medication that increases heart rate and blood pressure similar to the effect of exercise.
  • The rise in heart rate increases the oxygen demand of the heart and helps to determine if the heart muscle is getting enough blood and oxygen.
  • The test includes an echocardiogram done at rest and again at peak heart rate. This procedure uses sound waves (ultrasound) to produce an image of the internal structures of the heart.
  • In order to produce an image of the heart muscle, gel is applied to the patient's chest area and a transducer (a wand-like apparatus) is moved over the chest.
  • Electrodes are placed on the chest to record an electrocardiogram (EKG) which monitors the heart's rate and rhythm.
  • An IV line will be started and Dobutamine will be administered by a nurse.
  • The cardiologist will observe for any symptoms, irregular heart rhythms, an inappropriate heart rate or blood pressure responses.
  • The test takes about an hour.
  • This test must be ordered by a doctor.

Why is a Dobutamine Stress Echo Done?

  • This test will help the doctor evaluate the patient's cardiac condition related to the following:
    • How well the heart muscle and valves are working and how they function under stress.
    • The size of the heart's pumping chambers (ventricles).
    • Abnormal heart function: coronary artery disease and/or inadequate coronary blood supply.


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