CardioSpecialists Group, Ltd.
About Your Nuclear Stress Test
Also called: Thallium Stress Test, Cardiolite Stress Test, Myoview Stress Test, Exercise Myocardial Perfusion Imaging
What Is a Nuclear Stress Test?
In addition to monitoring heart rate, ECG, and blood pressure response to exercise, a nuclear stress test involves taking images of the blood flow to the heart muscle. It gives your doctor a clearer picture of your cardiovascular risk of a heart attack, as well as heart function (ejection fraction). The patient is given an injection of a radioactive substance through an IV while resting and while under stress. In cases where the patient cannot exercise on the treadmill to an adequate level, or in case of certain arrhythmias, the patient is given a drug to mimic stress.
Imaging takes place by sitting upright in a chair that rotates. The images take approximately ten (10) to fourteen (14) minutes for stress and seven (7) to ten (10) minutes for rest. The entire test will take three (3) to four (4) hours.
You may be asked to schedule your test for two (2) separate days to obtain the highest quality of images as possible. In this case, please allow two (2) hours each day for your study.
How Is the Procedure Performed?
An IV will be started for the injections. A resting image is usually obtained prior to your stress test. In the case of a two-day study, one day is for rest, the other day is for stress. When you are prepped for the stress portion, your chest may need to be shaved and an abrasive material will be used to remove dead skin cells and gels in order to allow for optimal ECG tracings during your test
Multiple blood pressures and ECG tracings will be taken throughout the stress portion. At peak exercise, you will be injected with a small amount of the radioactive tracer again, through your IV.
A second set of images will be taken after the stress test to see if there is any change in the blood flow to your heart at stress, compared to rest.
After the Test
You will be able to leave immediately after the test and can return to your daily routine, as your doctor permits. When the results are evaluated, your doctor will be able to decide the next course of treatment. Your doctor may prescribe additional testing if he or she feels it is necessary.
Is It Safe?
The test is generally considered safe, but if you have concerns about the radioactive isotope used in the testing, discuss it with your doctor.