BACKGROUND: Although dobutamine stress echocardiography (DSE) is performed in heart transplant patients, the safety profile of atropine administration in DSE in this setting is unclear. METHODS AND RESULTS: We identified heart transplant patients who received atropine during DSE from January 1984 to August 2011 at our institution and compared them with a propensity-scored matched control group of heart transplant patients who underwent DSE without atropine. Adverse events were defined as significant arrhythmias (sinus arrest, Mobitz type II heart block, complete heart block, ventricular tachycardia, or ventricular fibrillation), hypotension requiring hospitalization, syncope or presyncope, myocardial infarction, and death. Forty-five heart transplant patients (median age 62 years, 82% male) received 0.2-1 mg atropine during DSE. Of these, 1 patient (2.2%) developed temporary complete heart block. No adverse events were identified in the control group of 154 patients who received dobutamine without atropine. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that complete heart block can occur infrequently with the administration of atropine in heart transplant patients undergoing DSE. Therefore, patients should be appropriately monitored for these adverse events during and after DSE.Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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