Dobutamine Stress Echo

The dobutamine stress echocardiogram (DSE) assesses your heart and its function. This echo test uses stress as a trigger to see how well your heart responds. This stress can be triggered by exercise on a treadmill or if you are unable to exercise on a treadmill, with the help of a medication called dobutamine. The dobutamine stress echo is also called a pharmacologic cardiac perfusion.

A DSE may be used if you can't exercise. Dobutamine is put in a vein and causes your heart to beat faster, to mimic how your heart is affected by exercise. Then the echo uses high-frequency sound waves (ultrasounds) to look at how the various parts of the heart work. 

A DSE may use one or more special echocardiograms such as:

  • M-mode echocardiogram: The simplest type of echocardiogram, it produces an image similar to a tracing rather than an actual picture of heart structures.
  • Doppler echocardiogram: This Doppler technique measures and assesses the flow of blood through the heart's chambers and valves.
  • Color Doppler: The color Doppler uses different colors to show the direction of blood flow.
  • 2D (two-dimensional) echocardiogram: This test shows the actual motion of the heart structures.
  • 3D (three-dimensional) echocardiogram: This test captures 3D views of your heart structures with greater depth than 2D echo.