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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 doctor.
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
the test.

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
blood flow.
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
obtaining additional information.
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
doctor immediately.
Your test results will be sent to your doctor, who will
explain them to you.

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The information contained in this web site is presented for information purposes only, and is not intended to substitute in any way a consultation with a physician or competent healthcare professional for medical diagnosis and/or treatment.