Exercise Stress Echocardiogram & Dobutamine Stress Echocardiogram

Purpose of Test: This test is an ultrasound of the heart taken at rest and after “stress” to learn about the size, shape and motion of the heart and heart valves, and to determine whether the heart receives enough blood during exercise or when it is stressed. If able, individuals will be asked to walk on a treadmill with increasing speed and incline to increase the heart rate. Images of the heart are taken at test and after exercise. If unable to exercise, a medication called dobutamine can be injected into a vein in the arm to increase the heart rate and dilate the vessels, simulating “stress.”


  • Weill Greenberg Center, 1305 York Avenue, 8th Floor, New York, NY 10021
    (SW Corner of 70th Street & York Ave)
  • Starr Pavillon, 520 East 70th Street, Room K-425, New York, NY 10021
    (Between York Ave & East River. After entering the building, the Starr elevator bank is located to your left. Take the elevator to the 4th Floor. Make a right after you get off the elevator and follow the signs to K-425)

Arrival Time: Plan to arrive 20 minutes prior to appointment time

To reschedule:
(646) 962-4733 (for the 1305 York Ave location)
(212) 746-4670 (for the 520 E 70th St location)

Duration of Test: ~ 1 hour

Preparation for Test:

  1. Do not eat or drink anything 4 hours prior to test
  2. Do not drink alcohol 24 hours prior to test
  3. Wear comfortable clothes and sneakers or rubber soled shoes for walking on a treadmill.
  4. Please refrain from smoking at least 4 hours prior to test
  5. You may be asked to temporarily stop some of your cardiac or blood pressure medications that also slow the heart rate. Please be sure to check with your ordering physician regarding any medications.
  6. If you take insulin or oral agents for diabetes, please check with your ordering physician regarding possible dose changes.

What should I expect during the test?

  1. The first part of the test is usually performed in a darkened room.
  2. You will be asked to lie on your back, your left side and/or sit up.
  3. A lubricating gel will be applied to your skin over the heart area.
  4. A small smooth instrument (called a transducer) will be moved and/or tilted gently across your chest in various positions during the exam. The transducer picks up the sound waves from your heart and a live image of your heart is displayed on a TV monitor.
  5. At times during the exam you will hear a "swishing" sound (called Doppler) coming from the machine. This is the blood flow as it moves through the heart valves.
  6. After the echo is completed, you will have EKG leads placed on the chest and a blood pressure cuff placed around one arm. Continuous EKG monitoring is performed during the stress test and intermittent blood pressures will be taken.
  7. You will be asked to walk on a motorized treadmill, or if unable, you will be given the medication (dobutamine) to increase the heart rate. If walking, the speed and incline of the treadmill will be gradually increased until you reach an adequate heart rate. If given the medication, the rate will be increased until you reach a maximum heart rate.
  8. Once your maximum heart rate is achieved you will lie down again and repeat images will be taken very quickly (in order to obtain all the images before the heart rate decreases). There is no pain or discomfort during the test, but there will be pressure on the ribs from the transducer.
  9. You will be observed for approximately 10 minutes after stress to be certain your heart rate and blood pressure recover to baseline.


A Program of the Dalio Institute of Cardiovascular Imaging
at the NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital
428 East 72nd Street Suite 300
New York, NY 10021 Map This P: (646) 962-4278 (HART) F: (646) 962-0188