Dobutamine Stress Echocardiography


What is Dobutamine Stress Echocardiography?

Dobutamine Stress Echocardiography is a stress test for patients who have difficulty with walking on a treadmill. In this situation, instead of walking on a treadmill, a medication called Dobutamine is used to temporarily increase the heart rate to mimic exercise. The medication is given intravenously, and infused at a very slow rate into the bloodstream. The infusion is stopped when the target heart rate is achieved, and the pulse rate returns to normal usually within 10-15 minutes. The test may also be stopped if you develop an abnormal heart rhythm or symptoms such as chest pain or breathlessness (this occurs in less than 1% of tests).

What Happens During a Dobutamine Stress Echocardiography Procedure?

Please allow up to 2 hours for the test to be performed. A Dobutamine Stress Echocardiogram starts with a normal Echocardiogram. The additional Dobutamine infusion phase will take somewhere between 5 and 20 minutes. Echocardiogram images of your heart are taken before the infusion starts, then at various stages throughout the test as your heart rate increases.

During the test, your blood pressure and ECG will be monitored regularly and noted by the Cardiologist and Cardiac Scientist. If you develop any symptoms of chest pain, tightness/heaviness, breathlessness, or wish to stop – you should advise the Cardiologist or Cardiac Scientist immediately.

The effects of Dobutamine typically wear off within 10-15 minutes. One of the common side effects of Dobutamine is a drop in blood pressure, therefore, we advise that you arrange for someone to drive you home after the test. 


A report will be generated from your images by the Cardiologist and the Sonographer, and this will then go to your referring Doctor electronically, usually the same day or overnight if done as the last test in the afternoon. You should contact your referring Doctor for your results and any follow up required. If there is any urgency with the results (for example you are seeing your GP the same day), please advise the cardiac scientist looking after you so that we can fast track the report.

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