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Dobutamine Stress Echocardiogram

A Dobutamine Stress Echocardiogram is an ultrasounds scan of the heart performed whilst the heart is being exercised.

Ultrasound is a very high frequency sound that you cannot hear, but it can be emitted and detected by special machines to give accurate picture of the heart muscle, the heart chambers and structures within the heart such as valves.

The heart is exercise using the drug, Dobutamine, which slowly increases the heart rate in a similar way to the natural increase in heart rate that occurs during exercise.

This allows the heart to be imaged at different stages of activity.

What to Expect

  • You will need to undress from the waist upwards- gowns are available upon request
  • A small tube will be inserted into a vein in your arm through which the medication will be administered to increase your heart rate during the test
  • You will be required to lie on your left hand side on the couch
  • Small sticky patches, electrodes, will be put onto your arms and chest
  • These electrodes are connected to an ECG recording machine
  • A probe (which is like a very thick blunt pen) and lubricating jelly, are put on your chest
  • The operator moves the probe around over the skin surface to get views of your heart from different angles
  • Sometimes pressure has to be applied, which may cause slight discomfort
  • The text last around 60 minutes
  • Please ensure you have a copy of your current medication to hand
  • A Clinical Physiologist or assistant will be performing the Test

The Results

You will be given an informal result at the time of the scan. Test results will then been sent to the person who referred you, for example your GP, with details of what the test results show and any treatment required.

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