Heart Disease and the Echocardiogram
What Happens During the Dobutamine-Induced Stress Echocardiogram?
When getting a dobutamine-induced stress test, a technician will place electrodes (small, flat, sticky patches) on your chest. The electrodes are attached to an electrocardiograph monitor (ECG or EKG) that charts your heart's electrical activity during the test.
An intravenous line (IV) will be inserted into a vein in your arm so the dobutamine medication can be delivered directly into your bloodstream. The technician will perform a resting echocardiogram, measure your resting heart rate, and take your blood pressure. The doctor or nurse will administer the dobutamine into the IV while the technician continues to obtain echo images. The medication will cause your heart to react as if you were exercising: your heart rate will rise and you may feel it beating more strongly. It may cause a warm, flushing feeling and in some cases, a mild headache.
At regular intervals, the lab personnel will ask how you are feeling. Please tell them if you feel chest, arm, or jaw pain or discomfort, shortness of breath, dizziness or lightheadedness, or any other unusual symptoms.
The lab personnel will watch for any changes on the ECG monitor that suggest the test should be stopped. The IV will be removed from your arm once all of the medication has entered your bloodstream.
The appointment will take about 60 minutes. The actual infusion time is usually about 15 minutes. After the test, plan to stay in the waiting room until all of the symptoms you may have experienced during the test have passed.
Your doctor will discuss the test results with you.
What Should I Do to Prepare for a Transesophageal Echocardiogram?
Before a transesophageal echocardiogram, tell your doctor if you have any problems with your esophagus, such as hiatal hernia, swallowing problems, or cancer.
On the day of a transesophageal echocardiogram, do not eat or drink anything for six hours before the test. Take all of your medications at the usual times, as prescribed by your doctor. If you must take medication before the test, take it with a small sip of water.
If you have diabetes and take medication or insulin to manage your blood sugar, please ask your doctor or the testing center for specific guidelines about taking your diabetes medications before the test.
Someone should come with you to your appointment to take you home, as you should not drive until the day after the test. The sedation given during the test causes drowsiness, dizziness, and impairs your judgment, making it unsafe for you to drive or operate machinery.
What Happens During the Transesophageal Echocardiogram?
Before the transesophageal echocardiogram, you will be asked to remove dentures. An intravenous line (IV) will be inserted into a vein in your arm or hand so that medications can be delivered during the test.