Cardiac Nuclear Medicine Stress Test
What is a Cardiac Nuclear Medicine Stress Test?
A Cardiac Nuclear Medicine Stress Test is performed to look for blood flow to the heart muscle at rest and at stress.
This test has three parts − rest imaging, stress phase (done in cardiology), and stress imaging.
What should I do to prepare for a Cardiac Nuclear Medicine Stress Test?
Do not consume any caffeine or even decaffeinated products for 12 hours. Do not take any beta blockers for 24 hours prior to imaging. But first check with your primary care physician or cardiologist to be sure discontinuing beta blockers is appropriate.
What will happen during a Cardiac Nuclear Medicine Stress Test and how can I get my results?
This test takes three to four hours. There is a weight limit on doing this test in one day. Males over 250 pounds and females over 200 pounds will have the test done in two days. The first day will usually be the stress portion (plan on two hours). The second day is the resting portion and no restrictions for caffeine or beta blockers are required (plan on at least one hour).
An intravenous line will be placed in your arm. A small amount of radioactive tracer will be injected. You will go to the waiting area for 30 minutes. ECG leads will be placed on your chest. Then resting images will be taken. You will lie very still on the table and serial images will be taken for twenty minutes. The images will be checked, and then you will go to cardiology where the stress phase of the study will be done. This will be either by treadmill stress or by a pharmacological injection. The cardiologist will be making that decision and monitoring you throughout this test. At peak exercise, you will be given a second injection of radioactivity. You will then return to nuclear medicine for the stress images. These images will show the blood flow to the heart at the time of peak exercise, even though you have recovered from the exercise. After the test you will be able to drive home.
The physician who interprets the scan will send a report to your physician, who will then share the results with you.
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