The Heart and Vascular Clinic Nashville, TN

What Is A Dobutamine Stress Echocardiogram?

A Dobutamine Stress Echocardiogram is a procedure that involves the use of dobutamine, a medication that increases heart rate. Once the drug is administered, the heart responds as it would during exercise, and an echocardiogram is conducted to gather images of the heart when stressed.

When Might I Need A Dobutamine Stress Echocardiogram?

Your doctor may choose to conduct a Dobutamine Stress Echocardiogram if he needs to see how your heart responds to stress, and exercise is not deemed a plausible or safe method. These echocardiograms are typically used to:

  • Evaluate Heart Function and Condition
  • Evaluate Safe Levels of Exercise For Patients Recovering From a Heart Attack, Coronary Artery Disease or Other Heart-Related Condition or Event
  • Evaluate The Severity of Heart Valve Disease

Note: This list is not exhaustive. Your doctor may recommend this test for other reasons, as well.

What Should I Expect?

First, you will need to remove your clothing and jewelry from the waist up and lie down. Next, you will be administered dobutamine intravenously (the doputamine dose will increase throughout the procedure, as determined by your doctor), and electrodes and gel will be applied to your chest. The transducer will then be used to emit and measure sound waves as it moves across your chest. These sound waves will then be translated into images of your heart, and recorded for evaluation.

If you have difficulty breathing or experience heart palpitations or chest pain during the procedure, tell the sonographer immediately.

How Should I Prepare For The Test?

Before the test, it is important to talk to your doctor about any allergies or medical conditions you may have. You should also inform your doctor:

  • Of Any And All Medications You Are Taking
  • If You Have a Pacemaker
  • If There Is a Chance You Are Pregnant

Your doctor may give you directions for preparation based on your individual situation.

Note: It is generally advised that you avoid any caffeinated products or cigarettes before a Dobutamine Stress Echocardiogram.

If you have any questions regarding this test, be sure to ask your doctor during your next appointment.


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