Dobutamine Stress Echocardiogram

What is a Dobutamine Stress Test?

For patients who are unable to exercise for long periods of time on a treadmill we can perform a stress test using Dobutamine. Dobutamine is a chemical similar to adrenaline, and is given intravenously. It will make your heart beat faster and will affect your blood pressure, making your heart work harder.  We will be monitoring your electrocardiogram, blood pressure, and heart rate while you receive dobutamine. We also be performing an echocardiogram to look directly at the pumping function of the heart, and how the heart muscle responds to increased work.

Why is it ordered?

The most common reason is for evaluation of chest pain in patients who are unable to exercise on a treadmill. Directly looking at how the heart muscle responds to increased work, using echocardiography, we can detect evidence of  coronary artery disease.  Other indications include monitoring patients with congestive heart failure, heart rhythm abnormalities, and pre-operative cardiovascular risk assessment.

What can I expect the day of my test?

  • No food for 8 hours before your test
  • Adhesive patches will be placed on your skin to monitor your electrocardiogram.
  • A nurse or technologist will place an IV in your arm.
  • An echocardiogram will be performed before you receive dobutamine to look at the heart’s function at rest.
  • You will receive intravenous dobutamine for 5-15 minutes. An echocardiogram will be performed continuously while you are receiving the dobutamine.
  • You will be monitored until the dobutamine has cleared your system. An additional echocardiogram will be performed at the end of the test.