What We Do

A stress echo is a test that takes pictures of the heart with the use of a probe placed outside your chest wall while your heart is working hard. To "stress" the heart, you'll be given an intravenous medication (Dobutamine) that will make your heart beat harder and faster just like it would during exercise.

The pictures taken before, during and after your heart is "stressed" are displayed on the ultrasound monitor and are recorded on a disk for review and comparison. A dobutamine stress echo is performed by a sonographer and interpreted by a cardiologist.​

 Materials and Resources to Help You

The Patient & Family Education Program at UHN offers valuable resources to help you understand your condition.

Resources from the Patient & Family Education Program

Visit our Health Information section to find dedicated resources to help you understand your condition. Find the information you're looking for.​​​​

 Your Procedure

How to Prepare

You must have NOTHING to eat or drink 2 hours before your test. Medications can be taken with a sip of water unless your doctor tells you not to.

Wear comfortable shoes and clothing.

Bring with you to your appointment your:

  • Health card (OHIP card). If you do not have an OHIP card, please bring another form of government-issued photo ID (such as a driver's license, passport, or other provincial health card). Please arrive 15 minutes before your appointment.

Checking In

When you arrive at the Echocardiography Lab check in at the reception desk. The receptionist will ask you:

  • For your Health card (OHIP card)
  • Your name, address and birth date
  • Your family doctor and next of kin information

Before the Dobutamine Stress Echocardiogram

You will be given a name band to wear.

A sonographer will escort you to a changing room where you will be asked to remove all clothing from the waist up. A patient gown will be provided.

You will be taken into the procedure room. Please take your valuables with you.

During and After the Dobutamine Stress Echocardiogram

During the test monitors will be attached to you to record your heart rate, heart rhythm, and blood pressure during the test. A needle will be inserted into an arm vein to give you the medication. You will be asked to lie on your left side. The sonographer will take pictures of your heart.

After the test, the sonographer cannot give you the results. The cardiologist will review the images and write a report.

The Results of Your Dobutamine Stress Echocardiogram

The report will be sent to the doctor who requested the stress echo and he/she will discuss the results with you at a later time.

How Long Will Your Appointment Be?

A Dobutamine Stress Echocardiogram usually takes 30 minutes to one hour.

We do everything that we can to stay on time. Unfortunately, your appointment may be delayed by unforeseen circumstances. We recommend that you come prepared for delays.​

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