St. Louis University School of Medicine scientists are recommending diabetic women undergo dobutamine echocardiography stress testing. The researchers studied 421 diabetic women between the ages of 49 and 75 and found the tests to be valuable in helping physicians predict life-threatening heart problems.
"Our research is extremely important because women in this age group are historically under diagnosed, and by detecting problems earlier, we can help prevent heart attack or death and extend these women’s lives," said Dr. Melda Dolan, an associate professor of cardiology.
Dobutamine stress echocardiography tests are ultrasound heart scans in which patients are injected with a drug that makes their heart beat faster to determine if they have heart wall abnormalities. No exercise is involved.
"Women with diabetes and other clinical risk factors, such as smoking, obesity and a family history, are more likely to have heart disease or die from it," said Dolan. "Dobutamine stress echo tests serve an important role in predicting heart attacks or cardiac death in these higher-risk women."
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