Nonexercise stress transthoracic echocardiography: Transesophageal atrial pacing versus dobutamine stress

Chung Yin Lee, Patricia A. Pellikka, Robert B. McCully, Douglas W. Mahoney, James B. Seward

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVES: To compare transesophageal atrial pacing stress echocardiography with dobutamine stress echocardiography for feasibility, safety, duration, patient acceptance and concordance in inducing wall motion abnormalities. BACKGROUND: Transesophageal atrial pacing is an effective method of increasing heart rate and has been used in the assessment of coronary artery disease. METHODS: Both tests were performed in sequence on the same patients in random order. Transesophageal atrial pacing stress echocardiography began at a heart rate of 10 beats/min above the baseline value and was increased by 20 beats/min every two min until 85% of the age- predicted maximum heart rate or another end point was reached. Dobutamine echocardiography was performed using three-min stages and a maximum dose of 40 μg/kg per min. Atropine (total dose ≤ 2 mg) was administered at the start of the 40 μg/kg per min stage if needed to augment heart rate or during pacing if Wenckebach heart block occurred. RESULTS: Transesophageal atrial pacing stress echocardiography was feasible in 100 of 104 patients (96%); the duration (8.6 ± 3.6 min) was significantly shorter than that of dobutamine stress echocardiography (15.1 ± 3.9 min) (p = 0.0001). With transesophageal atrial pacing stress echocardiography, the recovery period was shorter, symptoms and dysrhythmias were fewer, hypertension and hypotension were less common and target heart rate was more frequently achieved. No complications occurred with either test. Patient acceptance was satisfactory. Agreement between results of both tests was good for segmental wall motion scoring with a 16-segment model, scores 1 to 5 (kappa: rest, 0.79; peak, 0.57) and test interpretation (normal, ischemia, infarction or resting wall motion abnormality with ischemia) (kappa: 0.77). CONCLUSIONS: Transesophageal atrial pacing stress echocardiography is a feasible, well- tolerated alternative to dobutamine stress echocardiography. It can be performed rapidly and shows good agreement with dobutamine stress echocardiography in the induction of myocardial ischemia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)506-511
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American College of Cardiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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