Exercise electrocardiography is an established mode of evaluation for patients with suspected coronary artery disease. It also provides prognostic information and guides therapeutic management in patients with established disease. However, some patients are unable to exercise because of orthopedic problems, neurologic diseases, peripheral vascular disease, or deconditioning. In the past, these patients have been referred for angiography to help assess their disease. Recently, however, new techniques to assess myocardial perfusion and/or function, including stress echocardiography, have been used in the noninvasive assessment of coronary artery disease in this group of patients. Echocardiography has been used in combination with different drugs, including dobutamine, dipyridamole, and adenosine. Dobutamine is probably the single most studied drug for stress echocardiography. Dobutamine stress echocardiography is a safe, feasible, and valuable technique for evaluating coronary artery disease.
(Arch Intern Med. 1994;154:1065-1072)