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Dobutamine Stress Echo (DSE)

A dobutamine stress echocardiogram is a diagnostic procedure that may be used when a doctor wants to assess the heart muscle under stress. If exercise on a treadmill is not an option (too much stress on the heart) due to a person’s medical condition, a doctor may use an intravenous medication called dobutamine. Dobutamine causes the heart to beat more quickly and will mimic the effects of exercise on the heart.

Below is a example of our information sheet and consent form:


Dobutamine Stress Echocardiogram

Purpose of the test:

Dobutamine stress echocardiography (DSE) is used to measure how your heart responds to stress, under medically supervised conditions. The test gives us very important information, and is usually performed for suspected coronary artery disease.

The test itself:

An echocardiogram is an ultrasound of the heart. Images of the heart will be taken at rest, along with an ECG recording. An intravenous cannula (IV) will be inserted in your hand or forearm, and you will be connected to an infusion pump ("drip") containing Dobutamine. Dobutamine is a drug which stimulates the heart to pump faster and harder, similar to the effects of exercise but with you resting on a bed. Continuous ECG recordings will be made until the end of the test, and Dobutamine will be given at increasing doses every three minutes until you have reached an appropriate level of stress, similar to exercise. At the end of each stage, your blood pressure is taken, the ECG is printed and further ultrasound images are taken. The test will be stopped if you develop chest pain or other symptoms, or if the ultrasound shows an abnormality of your heart in response to stress.

Three staff will be present for each test - the cardiologist, sonographer and a cardiac technician/nurse.

Symptoms you may feel:

Many patients initially describe a tingling in their scalp when we begin the infusion of Dobutamine. As the test progresses, you may feel your heart thumping as if you had just stopped running. When we stop the infusion, the symptoms usually go away within about 2 minutes. If you develop chest pain, palpitations, shortness of breath, dizziness or any other symptoms it is important you tell the doctor/nurse immediately.

Instructions For Dobutamine Stress Echocardiogram

  1. Cease caffeine 12 hours prior to test.
  2. Cease food 4 hours prior to test.
  3. Calcium channel blockers and beta-blocker medications are to be cease 24 hours prior to the test unless otherwise advised. These include:

ANSELOL (atenolol)
ATEHEXAL (atenolol)
BARBLOC (pindolol)
BETALOC (metoprolol)
BICOR (bisoprolol fumarate)
CARDOL (sotolol hydrochloride)
CORBETON (oxprenolol)
DERALIN (propanolol)
DILATREND (carvedilol)
INDERAL (propanolol)
LOPRESSOR (metoprolol)
METOHEXAL (metoprolol)
METOPROLOL-BC (metoprolol)
METROL (metoprolol)
MINAX (metoprolol)
NOTEN (atenolol)
TENORMIN (atenolol)
TENSIG (atenolol)
TOPROL (metoprolol)
VISKEN (pindolol)