Dobutamine Echocardiogram Stress Test

A dobutamine stress test is a test that allows a patient who cannot walk on a treadmill or ride a bicycle to complete a stress test. The test combines an echocardiogram (echo) with an infusion of dobutamine, a medication that has an effect on the heart as if the patient was exercising. A dobutamine stress test may help the physician diagnose coronary heart disease. An echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart) is obtained prior to the infusion of dobutamine and every 3 minutes thereafter. This involves holding a small transducer on the chest to obtain images of the heart structures and walls of the heart. During the stress portion of the test (infusion of dobutamine), the heart will beat faster. An electrocardiogram (EKG) is obtained continuously and the blood pressure is obtained every minute. The physician will compare images obtained before the infusion of dobutamine and during the infusion of dobutamine. It is important for the patient to tell the nurse or physician any symptoms he or she may be feeling. The physician will also review the electrocardiogram for any abnormalities. The patient should not have anything to eat or drink after mid-night before the test. This test will take an hour to an hour and a half. A physician will read the test.


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