Your doctor has asked that you have a dobutamine-echocardiogram (dobutamine-echo)
to measure your heart's tolerance to work and the heart wall movement
when it is working very hard. This test is a stress test of the heart
using the medicine dobutamine to make it beat faster and harder. An echocardiogram
is performed during the test. During the test, your heart rate is measured
by an electrocardiogram (ECG), and your blood pressure is taken while
you are being given the medicine. The test, which usually takes one and
a half hours, is performed in both the H.L. and Ruth Ray Hunt Heart Center
Noninvasive Department of the A. Webb Roberts Hospital, and in the Heart
Center Cardiac Rehabilitation Department of the Tom Landry Center.
Before The Test
You will be asked to
sign a consent form after your
doctor has explained
the procedure and its risks to you.
You may be asked to refrain
from eating or drinking
(except water) for three
hours before the test. Some
foods may affect the
test results. You should refrain from
tobacco usage (cigarettes,
chewing tobacco) for three
hours before this test.
If you are being tested
as an outpatient, please bring a list
of your medications
or the prescription bottles with you.
If you are unsure whether
to take your medications,
please consult your
Please avoid using body
lotion or body powder on your
chest the day of the
test. Lotions and powders interrupt
the signals the monitor
is picking up from your heart.
During The Test
You will need to undress
from the waist up; women will
be given a hospital
gown or a blanket with which to
A staff member will place
electrodes on your chest to
monitor your heart rate.
The skin may need to be lightly
scraped and chest hair
shaved on men to obtain clear test
Blood pressure cuffs
will be used during this test. If your
doctor has asked you
to avoid using a blood
pressure cuff on one
or both arms, please inform the
staff about this when
you are getting prepared for
A small intravenous catheter
(IV catheter) will be placed
in your hand or arm.
The medicine given during the test
will be given through
this catheter. If you are an Inpatient
and already have a catheter
in your hand or arm, the staff
nurse may first try
to use this IV site.
You will first receive
a resting echocardiogram. A trained
technician will place
a small instrument called a probe on
the outside of your
chest to obtain an image of your heart
and its blood flow.
You will be asked to
lie on your left side for the echo
portion of the test.
The technologist may ask you to
change positions periodically.
You may hear a loud "whooshing"
sound during the test.
This sound occurs when
the technologist is recording your
Once this information
is collected, the nurse or staff
member will give you
dobutamine, a medicine that
quickens your heart
beat and increases your blood
pressure. Lie quietly
while this medicine is being given;
however, if you have
any discomfort or pain or shortness
of breath, please let
the staff know immediately.
Sometimes this medicine
can cause nausea; if you begin to
feel bad, please tell
the staff. Other medicines may be
given to help you with
symptoms or to assist doctors in
Once the medicine is
given, the technologist will perform
another echo ultrasound
procedure with you lying on your
side. This study usually
takes only 15 - 20 minutes; once
the medicine is stopped,
your heart rate and blood
pressure should gradually
slow down. Your heart rate and
blood pressure will
be monitored during this time.
Immediately After The Test
When the technologist
has collected all the necessary
data, the electrodes
will be removed and you may get
Depending on your doctor's
request, the catheter may be
removed by a nurse or
technologist from the arm or hand.
Light pressure will
be applied to the site to decrease any
bleeding. If you are
on medications that keep your blood
from clotting, please
tell the nurse so that pressure can be
held a little longer.
You will probably feel
tired after the test. You should
avoid heavy exercise
or physical work for the reminder of
the day. If you have
any symptoms or discomfort after
you have left the Heart
Center, you should contact your
Your test results will
be sent to your doctor, who will
explain them to you.