An echocardiogram (echo) is a test used to assess the heart's function and structures. A stress echocardiogram is a test done to assess how well the heart works under stress. The “stress” can be triggered by either exercise on a treadmill or medication called dobutamine.
A dobutamine stress echocardiogram (DSE) may be used if you are unable to exercise. Dobutamine is put in a vein and causes the heart to beat faster. It mimics the effects of exercise on the heart.
During an echo, a transducer (like a microphone) sends out ultrasonic sound waves at a frequency too high to be heard. When the transducer is placed on the chest at certain locations and angles, the ultrasonic sound waves move through the skin and other body tissues to the heart tissues, where the waves bounce or "echo" off of the heart structures. The transducer picks up the reflected waves and sends them to a computer. The computer displays the echoes as images of the heart walls and valves.
A DSE may involve one or more of these special types of echocardiograms:
Possible reasons for getting a dobutamine stress echocardiogram (DSE) may include:
There may be other reasons for your doctor to recommend a DSE.
Possible risks associated with a dobutamine stress echocardiogram (DSE) include:
There may be other risks depending on your specific medical condition. Be sure to discuss any concerns with your doctor prior to the procedure.
Certain factors or conditions may interfere with a DSE such as:
A dobutamine stress echocardiogram (DSE) may be done on an outpatient basis or as part of your hospital stay. Procedures may vary depending on your condition and your doctor's practices.
Generally, a DSE follows this process:
You may go back your usual diet and activities unless your doctor tells you differently.
Generally, there is no special type of care following a dobutamine stress echocardiogram. However, your doctor may give you additional or alternate instructions after the procedure, depending on your particular situation.
Before you agree to the test or the procedure make sure you know: