Definition: The use of drugs in lieu of exercise in testing. Common agents used for pharmacologic stress testing are dobutamine, adenosine, or dipyridamole. Dobutamine increases heart rate and contractility of the heart, thereby increasing metabolic oxygen demand, whereas the other listed agents dilate coronary arteries, but less so in association with disease states or in patients with stenotic arteries. Typically, echocardiography or radionuclide imaging is used to demonstrate abnormal areas of the cardiac muscle during pharmacologic stress testing.
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Examples: glitazone, GI cocktail, etc.