What is a stress echo?
A Dobutamine Stress Echocardiogram is a non- invasive test used to assess coronary artery disease in patients who are unable to exercise on a treadmill.
Dobutamine is a drug that increases heart rate and blood pressure similar to the effect of exercise. As the heart rate increases the oxygen demand of the heart muscle increases. If the heart muscle is not getting enough blood and oxygen, this causes it to weaken and this can be seen by the echocardiogram.
The test includes an echocardiogram done at rest and at various stages until you reach your peak heart rate, and then, as the heart recovers, electrodes are placed on the chest to record an electrocardiogram (ECG) to monitor the heart's rate and rhythm.
An IV line will be started and Dobutamine will be administered by a pump. The technician will observe for any symptoms, irregular heart rhythms, an inappropriate heart rate or blood pressure responses. The test takes about an hour.