Learn more about Nuclear Stress test here.
A nuclear stress test is performed to make sure a patient receives enough blood flow and oxygen to their heart and evaluate how well it’s pumping and determine a patient’s risk of developing a heart attack.
The test is done in 3 stages, either in the doctor’s office or the hospital.
Stage 1 : IV (Intravenous Line) Started
- Thallium or sestamibi is injected into one of the patient’s veins.
- Patient lies down and rests for 15 to 45 minutes.
- A camera scans the patient’s heart and takes pictures to show how the radiopharmaceutical traveled through the patient’s blood and into their heart.
Stage 2 : Exercise
- The patient walks on a treadmill or pedals an exercise bike.
- The difficulty of the exercise increases gradually until the patient feels they are walking or cycling fast and up a big hill.
- For patients unable to exercise, the doctor may prescribe vasodilator to dilate the heart arteries, or another medicine to make the heart beat faster and harder, in order to simulate exercise.
Step 3 : EKG Monitored
- Once the heart is beating fast and working hard, the patient receives another injection of adiopharmaceutical.
- Patient rests another 15 to 45 minutes.
- The special camera scans your heart and takes pictures again.
Using a computer, the doctor compares the first and second set of images. This tells the doctor if you have heart disease or if your heart disease is becoming worse.
Patients are encouraged to wear comfortable clothes and shoes with nonskid soles. Patients should not to eat or drink anything after midnight, except a few sips of water in order to take medicines. Patients should avoid any type of caffeine for 24 hours before the test, and talk to the doctor if you are taking medicines.