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Nuclear Stress Test

  • Nuclear Stress Test


*Please note this test is a 3-to 4-hour test – there is no need to bring anyone with you to the test*

**If there is any possibility you may be pregnant, please call and reschedule the exam. If you are breast feeding, please call for further instructions. **

Myocardial Perfusion Stress Testing is a test that evaluates the pumping action and the blood flow to the heart muscle using a combination of imaging and exercise or medication-induced stress on the heart. The test can reveal evidence of blockage in the arteries that feed the heart muscle

Prep for the procedure: 

1.) Avoid all caffeine for 24 hours i.e., coffee, tea and chocolate (this includes all decaffeinated drinks, as they do still contain small amounts of caffeine).

2.) Do not eat, drink, or smoke (besides water) for 4 hours prior to testing.

3.) Please wear comfortable clothes and walking shoes; avoid overalls, coveralls, dresses and full-length slips as they may interfere with the testing procedure.

4.) Do not take Viagra or Levitra 24 hours prior to testing or Cialis 7 days prior to testing.

5.) Bring a list of your medications with dosages or your medications to the test. If you are prescribed any of the following medications, please do not take them the night before or the day of the test (unless otherwise instructed). If you take any medications from the list below, please bring them with you to take after the test.

Beta Blockers: Atenolol (Tenormin), Betapace (Sotolol), Coreg (Carvedilol), Inderal (Propranolol), Lopressor (Metoprolol), Toprol XL (Labetalol), Ziac, Zebeta (Bisoprolol), Bystolic (Nebivolol)

Calcium Channel Blockers: Calan (Verapamil), Cardizem, Diltiazem, Tiazac .(Timolol), Trandate (Verapamil)

Others: Digitek, Amiodarone, Imdur (Isosorbide), Nitroglycerin, Aggrenox, Persantine, Theophylline

What to expect:

The test is lengthy, taking 3-4 hours to complete with the majority of this time spent waiting.

1) When you arrive, an IV access will be started and you will receive an injection of a radioactive tracer.

2) You will then wait an hour so the medicine has time to circulate.

3) Cardiolite has no known side effects or allergic reactions, so you will not feel any different.

​4) Next, you will be positioned under the camera and pictures of your heart will be taken for approximately 20 minutes. You will lie on your back and be asked to be very still.

5) After this first set of pictures has been taken, you will undergo the stress portion of the test.

6) If undergoing pharmacological stressing, you will be given a medication through your IV line that will simulate the effects of exercise on your heart. These medications, Adenosine / Lexiscan / Dobutamine, do have some mild side effects; these side effects will be explained to you. A nurse will be present in order to monitor your heart rate and blood pressure. This portion of the test will take approximately 10 to 30 minutes depending on the medication utilized.

7) After stressing, you will be given an hour break. You may eat during this time. You may bring something from home if you would like.

8) Upon returning, a second set of pictures will be taken for 20 minutes. The test will then be complete, and you may leave.

Post procedure instructions/limitations

There are no limitations after the exam and you may resume normal activities. Your physician will call you with your test results. Any results requiring immediate action will be handled on a more urgent basis.