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Dobutamine Stress Echocardiogram

Stress echocardiography is a test that uses ultrasound imaging to show how well your heart muscles are working to pump blood to your body when your heart rate is increased. This test is mainly used to detect a decrease in blood flow to the heart muscles caused by coronary artery disease. Rather than maneuvering yourself on a treadmill, your heart rate will be increased with a drug called Dobutamine.

There will be a $50 missed appointment fee or if cancelled with less than 24 hour notice,

Checking Blood Pressure


There are a few things we would like you to do prior to your appointment:

  1. Bring a current list of your medications (or better yet, bring them in their original bottles!)

  2. Please stop all Beta-blockers for 48 hours prior to testing. These are medications which keep your heart rate controlled. If you are unsure if you are taking Beta-blockers, please check with your doctor.

  3. You may eat a light meal or snack before the test

  4. Please arrive 10-15 minutes before your scheduled time to fill out paperwork (or better yet, print it from the 'More Information' section below, under 'Dobutamine Echocardiogram Forms' and bring a completed version with you!)


This test is performed in Medical Centre 1

Suite 206, 430 The Boardwalk, Waterloo, ON

Please head to the CPS Registration Desk and we will direct you from there.

A resting echocardiogram will be done first. While you lie on your left side, a small device called a transducer is held against your chest. A special gel is used to help the ultrasound waves get to your heart to make an image. A small intravenous (IV) needle will be inserted into your forearm or hand to allow delivery of Dobutamine. This will increase your heart rate over a period of approximately 20 minutes.  Your heart rate and rhythm will be monitored throughout the study using an electrocardiogram, and your blood pressure will be monitored at various intervals. More echocardiogram images will be taken at different stages throughout the exam.

The test will continue until:

  • You reach a target heart rate

  • You develop chest pain or an excessive change in blood pressure

  • The electrocardiogram shows that your heart is not getting enough oxygen

Please note that your technologist may determine that contrast (a microscopic solution, not a dye) is required for improving diagnostic image quality. Upon your consent, contrast would be delivered intravenously (through an IV). Any concerns regarding contrast can be discussed with your technologist at the time of your appointment.

How long will my appointment be?

60 mins


One of our cardiologists will then interpret the entirety of the test, write a report, and send the results to your doctor.

Still have questions?

Call us at 519-741-5252 ext. 300

There are many reasons why your doctor may have ordered a Dobutamine stress echocardiogram. 

A Dobutamine stress echocardiogram is helpful to diagnose:

  • Heart attack or stroke

  • Palpitations

  • Heart murmur

  • Shortness of breath

  • High blood pressure

  • Congenital heart disease

  • Infection or inflammation involving the heart

  • Decreased heart function

If you are still wondering why you were referred to us for a Dobutamine stress echocardiogram, we encourage you to reach out to your doctor and ask for clarification.

More Information

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