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dobutamine cardiolite stress test

dobutamine cardiolite stress testpersantine cardiolite stress test

What is a dobutamine cardiolite stress test?

A dobutamine cardiolite stress test allows an accurate evaluation of the condition of your heart. Dobutamine is a drug that slowly increases the heart rate and takes the place of the treadmill test. Cardiolite is a radioactive isotope that allows images of the arteries to be taken. click to learn more about a cardiolite stress test

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Why do I need this test?

The test provides information about how much blood your heart pumps. It reveals whether your coronary arteries have become narrowed or blocked as a result of coronary artery disease.

Results from this procedure will help your doctor decide the best course of treatment for you.

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How do I prepare for the test?

  • Do not use nicotine products or consume caffeine 24 hours prior to the test.
  • Do not eat for 4 hours before the test. Diabetics may have clear liquids.
  • Continue taking your medications with sips of water.
  • Wear a comfortable two-piece outfit.
  • Bring your doctor's order with you.
  • Bring a list of your medications with you.
  • Arrange for someone to drive you home after the test. A medication called Atropine may be used during the test which can make eyes sensitive to bright sunlight.

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What will happen on the day of my test?

The most important thing to remember while undergoing a dobutamine cardiolite stress test is that the cardiologist performing the test is also there to answer any questions you may have. A registered nurse, nuclear medicine technologist and a general technologist will also be present.

The dobutamine cardiolite stress test will take pictures of your heart both at rest and after receiving the dobutamine. Here's how it works:

  • The entire exam takes approximately four hours to complete.
  • During the test, the physician and technologist will monitor your heart using a machine called an electrocardiograph. Electrodes connected to the electrocardiograph machine will be placed on your chest. Your blood pressure will also be monitored.
  • An intravenous line (IV) will be placed in your arm. Dobutamine and cardiolite will be given directly through the IV line. The dobutamine will be administered in increasing dosages until a desired heart rate is achieved (similar to how exercise increases your heart rate). Most patients just feel their hearts beating faster. However, if you experience any unusual sensations during the test, it is important to report them to the doctor.
  • The cardiolite will then be injected and you will be asked to sit in the waiting room for approximately 20 to 40 minutes. You will then be escorted to the camera area and asked to lie on a table with your left arm over your head. A special camera will take images of the cardiolite as it is carried to your heart through the coronary arteries. Resting pictures of your heart will be taken first.
  • When these are done, the dobutamine will be given through the IV to increase your heart rate to the target rate based on your age. A second dose of cardiolite will be injected once the target heart rate is reached.
  • After a short recovery period, you will be asked to wait approximately 60 minutes for the cardiolite to circulate through your body. You may eat a light snack at this time, but no caffeine or nicotine. You will then go back to the camera area for a second set of images, called stress pictures.

By comparing the second set of pictures with those taken during the resting period, your medical team will be able to evaluate your condition. Test results will be provided to your physician within 5 to 7 work days.

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Reducing your risk for heart disease

  • Don't smoke
  • Have your blood pressure checked regularly
  • Reduce your intake of fats and cholesterol
  • Maintain your ideal weight
  • Exercise regularly according to your physician's guidelines


Our goal is to provide you with excellent care. If you have any questions or comments, please contact:
Janet Duval, RN, BSN
Manager, Non-invasive Cardiovascular Diagnostics

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