Nuclear Stress Test

A Nuclear Stress Test is ordered to determine your risk of a heart attack, diagnosing CAD, coronary artery disease,  or other cardiac event related to CAD

The nuclear stress test will use a small amount of radioactive material, called a tracer, and an imaging machine to capture pictures of your heart

During this test, pictures will be captured while at rest and after exercise, typically using a treadmill, if you are unable to walk on a treadmill, an alternative is to use a medication given to you through an IV that mimics exercise by increasing the blood flow to your heart, this medication will resolve within minutes of being given as it’s not long lasting

A typical Nuclear stress test can take about 1 to 2 hours, make sure you wear comfortable clothing on the day of your appointment

What to Expect During the Nuclear Stress Test

Upon arrival, the board certified technician will place an IV in your arm and once placed, a radiopharmaceutical tracer will be injected

Next you will be asked to lie still on a table and have your first pictures taken of your heart, a SPECT scanner will be raised above you to take these pictures 

Once the first pictures are completed, the exercise portion of the exam will begin

If you are able to walk on a treadmill, EKG leads will be placed on your chest, once placed you will be asked to walk on the treadmill while the technician will monitor your heart readings

The treadmill will begin at a slow walk and build up to a faster walk, if any shortness of breath, chest pain, or other symptoms arise, the exercise will end

(if you are not able to walk on the treadmill then an injection will be given to you through your IV that will cause your body to mimic exercise by increasing the blood flow to your heart)

You will then have a second tracer injected after your heart rate peaks

The second set of pictures will be taken on the exam table

 After all pictures have been taken the IV will be removed and your test will end 

You will be requested to stop by the front desk to schedule your follow visit with your physician where your doctor will discuss the results of your Nuclear Stress Test