Pharmacological Stress Echocardiography

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Pharmacological Stress Echocardiography

Exercise increases demand of blood supply to heart muscle which is not supported in the presence of arterial narrowing. The problem can be picked up by different methods. When patient cannot exercise well, drugs can be used instead to induce stress exercise effect. Pharmacological stress echocardiography (PSE) detects a change in heart contraction during and after drug infusion by using echocardiogram.

PSE can be used to diagnose coronary heart disease or to assess its severity. It is also helpful in measuring physical fitness of patients with known heart attack.


  • Patient who cannot exercise well
  • Patient who had history of chest pain, syncope or even loss of conscious during exercise


  • You will be asked to lie on a stretcher.
  • Drugs (such as dobutamine) will be given intravenously as prescribed by the doctor.
  • Echocardiographic images will be obtained.
  • You will be under close observation continuously, especially your electrocardiogram and blood pressure to ensure safety.
  • Drug infusion will be stopped after desired images are obtained, or when you develop signs and symptoms.

Benefits & Risks:


Although the procedure carries certain risks, but it helps patient to prevent coronary heart disease, since patient may not have symptoms at rest.


There are some rare risks, such as chest pain, collapsing, fainting, heart attack, irregular heartbeat. However, your risk of experiencing these reactions during the test is low, since your doctor will assess you before the test. People risked of these complications such as those with advanced coronary heart disease are rarely asked to do the test.


ACC/AHA Guideline Update for the Clinical Application of Echocardiography 2003.