Stress and Dobutamine Echocardiograms

A stress echocardiogram is an echocardiogram done before and just after the exercise portion of a stress test.

A stress echocardiogram is used to evaluate how your heart is affected by exercise or activity. The test can show if certain areas of the heart muscle are not getting enough oxygen-rich blood.

If you are not able to exercise during a stress test, your doctor may order a dobutamine echocardiogram. This is an echocardiogram that is done after you have been given a drug (dobutamine) through a vein in your arm. Dobutamine increases your heart rate in much like exercise does. This procedure may take about two hours.

During a dobutamine or stress echocardiogram, it is important to let the doctor or nurse know if you feel unusual sensations in your chest, arms, neck or jaw, light-headed or dizziness, heart palpitations (the feeling that your heart is beating too fast) or shortness of breath.

The For Patients section has instructions for preparing for echocardiography.