Dobutamine Stress Echocardiogram

Dobutamine Stress Echocardiogram

A Dobutamine stress echocardiogram (DSE) test uses ultrasound imaging to assess your heart's performance under controlled pharmacological stress conditions. This test is recommended when your doctor determines that exercising on a treadmill is inappropriate option for you.

    Dobutamine Stress Echocardiogram

    The dobutamine stress echocardiogram (DSE) is a valuable test that uses ultrasound imaging to evaluate your heart’s performance under controlled pharmacological stress conditions. It is particularly useful when exercising on a treadmill is not suitable for you. The infusion of a medication called dobutamine mimics exercise by increasing the heart rate, simulating the effects of exercise without the need for physical activity. This test is especially beneficial for patients who cannot exercise adequately or have severe lung disease.

    The dobutamine stress echocardiogram is a valuable tool for detecting any reduction in blood flow to the heart muscle, often caused by narrowed coronary arteries. This narrowing can lead to insufficient blood flow to a part of the heart, affecting its contraction, which can be observed with ultrasound. This test enables doctors to assess:


    • Blood and oxygen supply to the heart at rest and during exercise
    • Movement of the heart muscle
    • Overall cardiovascular fitness
    • Heart’s ability to handle stress before symptoms occur
    • Risk of complications during surgery that may cause cardiac complications

    The procedure begins with the insertion of a cannula into your arm. Following this, an initial echocardiogram will be performed, and a low dose of medication called dobutamine will be injected through the previously inserted cannula. The infusion rate of dobutamine will gradually increase and then stop once a target heart rate is achieved or if you experience any discomfort such as chest pain, shortness of breath, weakness, dizziness, etc.


    Ultrasound images will be captured at various test stages: at the beginning, during different medication infusion stages, and during recovery. An expert will then analyze these images side by side.

    Considering that the test is commonly conducted on patients suspected of or diagnosed with coronary artery disease, it’s important to consult our expert cardiologist before undergoing it.


    Potential risks include chest pain, severely high blood pressure, irregular heartbeats, dizziness, nausea, extreme fatigue, and, in rare cases, a heart attack. Your specific medical condition may also introduce additional risks.

    To prepare for the test, it’s important to stay well-hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Additionally, having a light meal and avoiding caffeine, smoking, or using any tobacco products within 3 hours before the test is recommended.


    If you’re taking beta-blocking medications, it’s crucial to mention this during your pre-test consultation, as these medications may impact how effectively your heart rate can increase during the test.

    Consult our experts

    Our services are carefully designed to provide to your individual needs, offering a holistic approach that addresses both physical and emotional well-being.

    Dr. Laure Bruchou

    Dr. Laure Bruchou

    Consultant Cardiologist