Stress Echo Test

Dobutamine Stress Echo

What is a Stress Echo test?

A Stress Echo is a non-invasive test that combines two tests, a chemical stress test and an echocardiogram. The echocardiogram uses sound waves (ultrasound) to look at the heart's internal structure, size, and movement. Electrodes are placed on the chest to monitor the ECG. The test takes approximately two hours allowing time for preparation and testing.

Preparation for Stress Echo Test

  • Do not eat or drink for four hours prior to the procedure.
  • Specific heart medicines may need to be stopped one or two days prior to the test. These instructions are provided by the patient's physician when the test is scheduled.

How is a Stress Echo performed?

  • A nurse will start an IV line in the patient's arm.
  • The patient is brought to the Heart Station where a resting echo is performed. This provides a baseline examination and demonstrates the size and function of the heart chambers.
  • The patient's ECG and blood pressure are monitored continuously.
  • Dobutamine is administered through the IV line until the patient's heart rate reaches 85% of the target rate (based upon the patient's age). The echo exam is then repeated.
  • A video clip of multiple views of the resting and stress study are compared side by side. These are analyzed by the physician.