A Dobutamine stress echocardiogram is a type of cardiac ultrasound scan to assess the response of your heart to exercise or stress.
It’s understandable to worry if you think there is something wrong with your heart, but early diagnosis is best. It means that if you need treatment, you can get it – and you gain peace of mind if there are no problems.
A consultant will recommend a dobutamine stress echo to help diagnose symptoms such as chest pain, breathlessness, palpitations or worsening angina.
A dobutamine stress echocardiogram is a type of cardiac ultrasound scan to assess the response of your heart to exercise or stress. It is a low risk, non-invasive procedure performed by a cardiac consultant.
It can detect the effects of coronary disease or valve disease on the pumping function of the heart, without the use of radiation. You will be given the results before you leave.
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You will have a formal consultation with a healthcare professional. During this time you will be able to explain your medical history, symptoms and raise any concerns that you might have.
We will also discuss with you whether any further diagnostic tests, such as scans or blood tests, are needed. Any additional costs will be discussed before further tests are carried out.
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Our dedicated team will also give you tailored advice to follow in the run up to your visit.
The stress echocardiogram procedure usually takes about an hour to complete. Electrodes will be attached to your chest and a blood pressure cuff to your arm to monitor your heart and blood pressure throughout the procedure.
A resting echocardiogram will be done first. While you lie on your left side, a small device called a transducer is held against your chest. A special gel is used to help the ultrasound waves get to your heart.
Once the resting echocardiogram has been done a drug called dobutamine will be given through a vein in your arm. This medicine will make your heart beat faster and harder, similar to when you exercise.
More echocardiogram images will be taken while your heart rate is increasing, and when it reaches its peak. The images will show whether any parts of the heart muscle or valves do not work as well when your heart rate increases.
It is normal to feel your heart pounding for a few minutes.
Very rarely, people feel chest discomfort, palpitations, dizziness, headache, nausea or shortness of breath during the test.
Your consultant would have already discussed the results with you and what they indicate about the health of your heart within the consultation. They will then pass you back to your referring GP/ consultant should they feel further treatment is required.
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The treatment described on this page may be adapted to meet your individual needs, so it's important to follow your healthcare professional's advice and raise any questions that you may have with them.
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