Explore This Procedure

About This Procedure

A dobutamine stress echocardiogram (DSE) is a test performed to evaluate your heart. The test involves an echocardiogram, which is an ultrasound of your heart, an electrocardiogram (ECG), and the use of a medication called dobutamine.

The DSE compares the performance of your heart at rest to the performance of your heart during exercise, or stress. This can be helpful in the diagnosis of cardiac disease in the early stages of development or to assess the progress of patients with known cardiac disease. Dobutamine is used to simulate your heart’s functioning during exercise and is often used when a patient cannot perform strenuous exercise or because the physician specifically ordered this test.

Before the Test

  • Take your medications as scheduled
  • If you are taking a Beta-Blocker, you may be asked not to take it 24 to 48 hours before the test. Your physician can advise you if stopping this medication is appropriate. Beta-Blockers include: Atenolol (Tenormin), Metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol), Nadolol (Corgard), Propranolol (Inderal)
  • If you have any questions about your medications, please call your physician.
  • You may eat prior to the test, but we advise you to only eat a light meal. A full stomach is not advisable.

During the Test

The physician will explain the test to you and answer any questions you may have. The physician will be present throughout the entire test. An intravenous (IV) line will be placed in your arm for the medication. Throughout the test, you will be closely monitored. The medication will be increased slowly until you reach a heart rate as if you were exercising.

Following the Test

  • You will most likely be able to go home without any restrictions.
  • Return to your medications that may have been stopped for the test.
  • You may want to have a family member or friend drive you home.

If you have any questions, please call your physician