A dobutamine stress echocardiogram is a two-dimensional ultrasound performed before and after injecting the medicine dobutamine to induce a physiological stress response.

Dobutamine will be used in place of exercise if there is a reason that an exercise stress test is not possible.

Through a hand-held transducer and gel applied directly on your skin, ultrasound uses non-radiation sound wave technology to create an echo image of the organs and vessels in your body.

The purpose of a stress echocardiogram is to measure electrical activity of your heart and how it responds to different levels of stress.


Prior to your dobutamine stress echocardiogram, you may need to stop some heart or blood pressure medications. You will need to speak to your doctor about these changes, if they are required.

As a dobutamine stress echocardiogram will be assessing your heart, it will be best to wear a two-piece outfit to allow for easier access to your chest.

You will be asked to remove your top and bra (if you’re wearing one). You will be offered a gown to wear.

A cannula will be placed in your arm for the dobutamine infusion.

During the dobutamine stress echocardiogram, you will be asked to lie on your left side or back as the ultrasound transducer is used to review the effect of the dobutamine on your heart.

Dobutamine stress echocardiograms usually take about an hour. It is advisable that you wait for another 20 minutes after the procedure.

A dobutamine stress echocardiogram is a non-invasive procedure so you can return immediately to your usual everyday activities and resume your usual medications.

Your dobutamine stress echocardiogram scans will be reviewed and the report will be sent to your referring doctor. It is best to make an appointment with them to follow up on the results.

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