Dobutamine Echocardiogram Stress Test

If a treadmill stress test is not appropriate for you, your doctor may order a dobutamine stress test to measure the pumping ability of your heart muscle during a time of increased heart work.

A physician, sonographer and a nurse will be present for this test and will monitor your blood pressure, heart rate and any signs or symptoms.

A dobutamine stress echocardiogram is done while you are lying on your side. An intravenous catheter (IV) will be placed in your arm to give medications. A gel-like substance will e placed on the chest and moving images of your heart are obtained with sound waves transmitted through a transducer probe held against your chest. Electrodes will be placed on the chest to obtain electrocardiograms during the test. A blood pressure cuff will also be placed on the arm to moniitor during the test. A physician will be present during the test and will direct the injection of dobutamine in slowly, increasing amounts gradually. An intravenous injection of the medication causes forceful pumping of your heart muscle similar to when you are exercising. By comparing images before, during and after the injection, we can identify areas of decreased heart muscle movement.

The lights will be off during your test which takes approximately 90 minutes to complete.

If you are scheduled for a stress test:

  • Wear clothing and shoes to walk on a treadmill if needed. Some patients will be given a gown to wear and will be asked to remove their clothing above the waist.

  • Bring something along to pass time between images.

  • Electrodes will be attached to your chest to record EKGs.

  • A blood pressure cuff will be placed on your arm and utilized throughout the test.

  • Results will be reviewed and interpreted by a cardiologist and sent to your doctor.