What Is Nuclear Stress Testing?
This diagnostic procedure combines a regular stress test with the powerful tool of nuclear imaging.
The stress portion of the test may be similar to that done during standard stress testing (on a treadmill) or it may be a medication-induced stress test with the medications Persantine or Lexiscan given through an IV.
Nuclear pictures of the heart are taken before and after exercising. Abnormalities in these pictures tell us if there is a blockage in the arteries that carry blood to the heart. The test can calculate how well the heart is pumping. These pictures can also tell you if you had a previous heart attack.
Before the Test
No smoking or caffeine for 24 hours before the test. Learn more about preparing for the nuclear stress test.
During Your Stress Test
Electrodes will be placed on your chest and stomach to connect you to the EKG machine. The technician will show you how to walk on the treadmill, slowly at first and then faster. Try to walk as long as possible. The longer you walk, the more reliable the results will be.
When you think you can go only one more minute, let the physician know so that the nuclear injection can be given. After the injection, you will be asked to walk one more minute.
During the test, your EKG and blood pressure will be monitored. Be sure to tell the physician any symptoms such as chest, arm or jaw pain, severe shortness of breath, fatigue or dizziness, leg cramps or soreness. Never stop walking suddenly or jump off the treadmill, as serious injury can result. If you need to stop, notify the physician to slow down or stop the treadmill.
Persantine or Lexiscan Cardiolite
This procedure is for patients who cannot walk on the treadmill. An IV medication is given (either Persantine or Lexiscan) that takes the place of having to walk. This medication then allows the "stress portion" of the test to be performed.
Testing is available Monday–Friday.