Nuclear Stress Test
Signs and Symptoms that indicate you may need a stress test include: • Moderate to severe chest pain. • Severe shortness of breath. • Abnormally high or low blood pressure. • An abnormal heart rhythm. • Dizziness. • Fatigue. • Certain changes in your electrocardiogram. Nuclear stress test is an imaging method that uses radioactive material to show how well blood flows into the heart muscle, both at rest and during activity. How the Test is Performed It is done in stages: You will have an intravenous (IV) line started. • A radioactive substance will be injected into one of your veins. • You will lie down and wait for between 15 and 45 minutes. • A special camera will scan your heart and create pictures to show how the substance has traveled through your blood and into your heart. Most people will then walk on a treadmill. • After the treadmill starts moving slowly, you will be asked to walk faster and on an incline. • If you are not able to exercise, you may be given a medicine that will make your heart beat faster and harder, similar to when you exercise. Your blood pressure and heart rhythm will be watched throughout the test. When your heart is working as hard as it can, a radioactive substance is again injected into one of your veins. • You will wait for 15 to 45 minutes. • Again, the special camera will scan your heart and create pictures. Your provider will compare the first and second set of pictures using a computer. This can help detect if you have heart disease or if your heart disease is becoming worse.