Echocardiogram (cont.)

When getting a dobutamine-induced stress test, a technician will first gently rub 10 small areas on your chest and place electrodes (small, flat, sticky patches) on these areas. The electrodes are attached to an electrocardiograph monitor (ECG or EKG) that charts your heart's electrical activity during the test.

An intravenous line (IV) will be inserted into a vein in your arm so the dobutamine medication can be delivered directly into your bloodstream. The technician will perform a resting echocardiogram, measure your resting heart rate, and take your blood pressure. The doctor or nurse will administer the dobutamine into the IV while the technician continues to obtain echo images. The medication will cause your heart to react as if you were exercising: your heart rate will rise and you may feel it beating more strongly. It may cause a warm, flushing feeling and in some cases, a mild headache.

At regular intervals, the lab personnel will ask how you are feeling. Please tell them if you feel chest, arm, or jaw pain or discomfort; short of breath; dizzy; lightheaded, or if you have any other unusual symptoms.

The lab personnel will watch for any changes on the ECG monitor that suggest the test should be stopped. The IV will be removed from your arm once all of the medication has entered your bloodstream.

The appointment will take about 60 minutes. The actual infusion time is usually about 15 minutes. After the test, plan to stay in the waiting room until all of the symptoms you may have experienced during the test have resolved.

Your doctor will discuss the test results with you.

What Should I Do to Prepare for a Transesophageal Echo?

Before a transesophageal echocardiogram, tell your doctor if you have any problems with your esophagus, such as hiatal hernia, swallowing problems, or cancer.

What Happens During the Transesophageal Echo?

Before the transesophageal echocardiogram, you will be asked to remove dentures. An intravenous line (IV) will be inserted into a vein in your arm or hand so that medications can be delivered during the test.

A technician will gently rub three small areas on your chest and place electrodes (small, flat, sticky patches) on these areas. The electrodes are attached to an electrocardiograph monitor (ECG or EKG) that charts your heart's electrical activity during the test.

A blood pressure cuff will be placed on your arm to monitor your blood pressure during the test. A small clip, attached to a pulse oximeter, will be placed on your finger to monitor the oxygen level of your blood during the test.

A mild sedative (medicine to help you relax) will be given through your IV. Because of the sedative, you may not be entirely awake for the test.

A dental suction tip will be placed into your mouth to remove any secretions. A thin, lubricated endoscope (viewing instrument) will be inserted into your mouth, down your throat, and into your esophagus. This won't affect breathing. You may be asked to swallow at certain times to help pass the endoscope. This part of the test lasts a few seconds and may be uncomfortable. Once the endoscope is positioned, pictures of the heart are obtained at various angles. You will not feel this part of the test.

When completed, the tube is withdrawn. You will be monitored for about 20-30 minutes after the test, which takes about 10-30 minutes to perform.

Someone will need to drive you home after the test. You should not eat or drink until the anesthetic spray wears off or until the numbness in your throat is gone -- about an hour after the test. Your doctor will discuss the test results with you.

WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCE:

The Cleveland Clinic Heart and Vascular Institute. The National Institutes of Health.

Reviewed by Robert J Bryg, MD on March 07, 2009


Last Editorial Review: 3/7/2009 8:00:04 PM