Dobutamine stress echocardiogram
This test is more involved and gives more information (location, extent of blockages) than the EKG-only based standard treadmill exercise stress test. It is also more sensitive and specific (fewer false results) than the EKG-only based test, and more specific (fewer false positive results), especially in female patients, than nuclear stress testing.
During this type of test, we visualize the actual heart-muscle response to stress.
Since there is no physical stress with this test, patients with physical limitations may undergo testing in this fashion.
Variable, usually a total of an hour.
An intravenous catheter may be placed to allow us to better see the heart muscle with our ultrasound machine. A set of "rest" heart images will be taken.
During imaging, you will be laying down on a table. The ultrasound machine is very safe (same machine as those used in imaging pregnant women).
The "non-exercise" portion will then begin. You will be connected to a special EKG machine and then a medication will be infused. Throughout the infusion, several sets of images will be taken, including a set during the peak infusion. These are all used for comparison.
Although the effects of the infused medication last for only about 15 minutes, you may feel symptoms of palpitations during the test. This is a normal response. A reversal agent may be administered if needed.
If you are or may be pregnant, you must tell the technician.
You will not be required to exercise. We suggest you wear comfortable clothes.
You may have a light meal before the test.
Yes, unless specifically advised not to do so by your doctor.