How It Is Done continued...
An exercise stress echo takes about 30 to 60
Dobutamine stress echocardiogram
medicine called dobutamine is used instead of exercise to stress your heart.
For this test, you will lie on your back or left side on a bed or examination
table, and a baseline echocardiogram will be done. EKG electrodes will be taped
to your arms and legs to record your heart rate during the test.
Next, the technician cleans the site on your arm where the medicine will
be injected, and an intravenous (IV) line will be placed in a vein in your
After the IV is started, you will be given dobutamine,
which increases your heart rate and causes your heart to work harder.
Echocardiogram images will be taken while you receive the dobutamine. Your peak
heart rate is reached in about 15 minutes. At times you will be asked to hold
very still, breathe in and out very slowly, hold your breath, or lie on your
left side. After your peak heart rate is reached, the medicine will be stopped
and your heart rate will return to normal (in about 1 to 3 minutes). More
echocardiogram images will be taken when your heart rate returns to
A dobutamine stress echo takes about an hour.
Transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE)
may be numbed with an anesthetic spray, gargle, or lozenge to relax your gag
reflex and to ease insertion of the probe. Shortly before the procedure begins,
an IV line will be placed in a vein in your arm. Medicine to decrease saliva
and stomach secretions may be given through the IV. A pain medicine and
sedative will be given to you through the IV in your arm during the procedure.
You should feel relaxed and drowsy but still alert enough to cooperate.
Your heart rate, breathing rate, and blood pressure will be monitored
throughout the procedure. Also, a small device used to measure the amount of
oxygen in your blood (pulse oximeter) may be attached to your
finger or earlobe.
You will be asked to lie on your left side with
your head tilted slightly forward. A mouth guard may be inserted to protect
your teeth from the probe. Then the lubricated tip of the probe will be guided
into your mouth while your doctor gently presses your tongue out of the way.
You may be asked to swallow to help move the tube along. It may be helpful to
remember that the instrument is no thicker than many foods you swallow. When
the probe is in your esophagus, it will be moved down gently to the level of
your upper right heart chamber (atrium), and ultrasound images will be taken.
You will not feel or hear the sound waves during the test.
During the procedure, try not to swallow unless
requested. An assistant may remove the saliva from your mouth with a suction
device, or you can just let the saliva drain from the side of your mouth. A
transesophageal echo is generally painless, though you may feel nauseated and
uncomfortable while the probe is in your throat.
The test takes
about 2 hours. The probe will be in place in your esophagus for about 10 to 20