What is a Dobutamine Echo?
A Dobutamine Echo is very similar to a Stress Echo. It is performed on those people who are unable to perform physical exercise. Instead of exercising on a bicycle the heart is ‘exercised’ through the infusion of a medication called Dobutamine. This drug will simulate exercise by making your heart beat faster.
How does it work?
The Doctor will insert a needle into your hand or arm and a solution containing Dobutamine will be infused slowly into your bloodstream. The Dobutamine gradually causes the heart rate to increase. An echocardiogram will be taken at the beginning of the infusion to look at the function of your heart muscle. Once your heart reaches a predetermined heart rate, a second series of echo images will be recorded. It’s important that you inform the Supervising Doctor if you have any symptoms such as chest pain or nausea during the test. You will be required to remain in the practice for at least 15 minutes after the test to ensure that you have fully recovered from the test and are experiencing no symptoms.
How do I prepare for the test?
A baseline echocardiogram is required to be performed on a separate day prior to this test.
You will spend the test lying down, so make sure to wear comfortable clothes. For ladies, it’s best to wear a two-piece outfit or dress with buttons up the front.
You will be instructed by your GP or Cardiologist if you need to stop your heart related medication 24 hours prior to the test.
You should be well hydrated to facilitate the infusion. To ensure this, you should drink plenty of water (1-2 litres) in the 24 hours leading up to your appointment.
How long does the test take?
A Dobutamine Echo takes approximately 1 hour.