Nuclear Cardiac Stress Test
What is the
A nuclear cardiac
stress test tracks the way blood flows into the heart muscle before, during, or
after exercise. It is used to evaluate coronary disease.
How do I prepare?
pre-register by phone one or two days prior to your test by calling the medical
center at 274-4353. Avoid both caffeine and smoking for 48 hours before your
test, and don't eat or drink anything after midnight the night before. Bring
all of your medications, in their prescription bottles, to the medical center
on the morning of the test. Wear walking shoes and a comfortable two-piece
outfit, and plan to be at the medical center for three to four hours. Because
there are waiting periods, you may want to bring something to read. Be sure to
let the technician know if you are diabetic, have chronic lung disease, suffer
from knee or hip problems, or have had a stroke. Also alert the technologist to
any drug or food allergies you have.
medicine uses radioactive materials called tracers to capture images of the
heart functioning. To get the heart muscle working hard, you may be asked to
exercise on a treadmill or stationary bicycle for several minutes. When you
cannot exercise any more, a tiny amount of tracer will be introduced into your
body through an intravenous (IV) line in your arm. You will then be asked to
lie very still for up to 30 minutes. As the tracer travels through your heart,
a special camera (called a Gamma camera) detects the material and captures
images of the blood flow in your heart muscle.
If you are
unable to exercise you may be given a drug that will cause your heart to work
as if you were exercising.
Most people can
resume their normal activities after the test is completed. Talk with your
doctor about when to take any medication you were asked to skip before the
test. Your physician should be able to share the results of your test
approximately 48 hours after its completion, and will provide a written report
to your primary care physician.