Safety of dobutamine stress echocardiography in 474 consecutive studies

Terence G. Hennessy, Mary B. Codd, Garvin Kane, Conor McCarthy, Hugh A. McCann, Declan D. Sugrue

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Background. With expanding applications and increasingly aggressive stress protocols, concerns about the safety of dobutamine stress echocardiography (DSE) have arisen. The purpose of this study was to analyse prospectively the safety, adverse event profile and complication rate of DSE. Methods. Prospective data were recorded in a consecutive series of 474 patients undergoing DSE. Dobutamine was administered intravenously in graded infusion, each stage over 3 min, at 10, 20, 40 and, if required, 50 μg/kg/min. Atropine (1 mg) was administered thereafter if the response remained suboptimal. Results. The mean dose of dobutamine was 42 μg/kg/min, with 111 patients (23%) receiving 50 μg/kg/min. Atropine was required for 27 patients (6%). No patient died or suffered a myocardial infarction. Sustained ventricular tachycardia occurred in one patient, angina pectoris in 127 (27%), non-sustained ventricular tachycardia in eight (2%) and supraventricular tachycardia in 19 (4%). Profound bradycardia requiring cessation of the test occurred in one patient. Pulmonary oedema developed in one patient. A hypotensive response requiring cessation of the test was seen in one patient. Test termination because the patient complained of nausea, tremor or headache was not required. Conclusion. DSE is safe. Side effects are rare and when they occur, are usually minor. Ischaemic pain is effectively treated by termination of the test and sublingual administration of nitrates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)175-178
Number of pages4
JournalCoronary Artery Disease
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 1997


  • Adverse events
  • Dobutamine stress echocardiography
  • Safety

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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