Low to intermediate dose atropine administration during dobutamine stress echocardiography in the pre-liver transplant population

David Snipelisky, Justin Shipman, Nicole Olson, Patricia Pellikka, Bashar Aqel, Robert McCully, Kymberly Watt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Dobutamine stress echocardiography (DSE) is frequently used to screen for obstructive coronary artery disease in the pre-liver transplant evaluation. Although atropine is a commonly used adjunctive medication, no study has evaluated its side effect profile in patients with end-stage liver disease (ESLD). Research Question: What is the safety of atropine in candidates undergoing pre-liver transplant evaluation when atropine is used in stress testing? Design: This multicenter, prospective study enrolled patients over a 6-month period undergoing pre-liver transplant evaluation. Each patient completed a questionnaire assessing anticholinergic-related symptoms within 24 hours of testing and 48 hours following. Comparisons were made among patients receiving any atropine dose versus those who did not and among patients receiving at least 1 mg atropine and those receiving less/none. Results: Forty patients were evaluated, and 32 (80%) had adjunctive atropine administered. No differences in clinical characteristics were noted. In comparisons among patients receiving any dose of atropine with those who did not, questionnaire results indicated a higher rate of nausea prior to testing and higher overall symptom severity following testing in patients not receiving atropine. In comparisons among patients receiving less than 1 mg atropine with those receiving at least 1 mg atropine, no difference in pre- or posttesting questionnaire responses was present. No patient in the study required reversal agents or hospitalization within 7 days of testing. Conclusions: Atropine, a hepatically metabolized medication, did not predispose patients with ESLD to an increased symptom burden, and clinical outcomes related to DSE were unaffected.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)361-367
Number of pages7
JournalProgress in Transplantation
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018


  • Access
  • And evaluation
  • Atropine
  • Body regions
  • Cardiovascular system
  • Dobutamine stress echocardiography
  • End-stage liver disease
  • Health-care quality
  • Liver transplant evaluation
  • Liver transplant recipient
  • Population characteristics
  • Therapeutics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Transplantation


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