Exercise Nuclear Stress Test

What is an exercise nuclear stress test?

An exercise nuclear stress test combines the traditional treadmill test and monitoring with an imaging series that can look and measure the blood flow to the heart. The ultimate goal of the test is to see if your heart receives enough blood from its own arteries when the heart is required to work harder.

What will happen during the test?

The nuclear stress test allows your physician to view images of your heart while at rest and at stress. To create those image you will receive two injections of a small amount of radioactive material, Cardiolite. To minimize the number of needle sticks required for the test an intravenous line (IV) will be placed on your arm or hand prior to your first Cardiolite injection and will be used later for your second Cardiolite injection.
Following the first injection you will lie on a table and an initial or “resting” scan will be performed by the gamma camera. The gamma camera will be placed over your heart and images will be recorded. This process takes approximately 30 minutes. This portion of the test is called the “rest study.”

After your “resting scan” our trained staff will place EKG electrodes on your chest that will constantly monitor your heart during the “stress study”. Your heart will be stressed through exercising on a treadmill. During this portion of the test our staff will constantly monitor you. The actual physical stress portion of the test takes about 10-15 minutes. Before the end of your stress test a second Cardiolite injection will be administered. This radiopharmaceutical is absorbed by the heart muscle and can be visualized by the gamma camera in the same manner as the “rest study”. The imaging portion of your stress test will take another 30 minutes.

Sometimes the test is scheduled over 2 days with the stress portion of the test on day one and the resting portion of the test on day two.

What happens after the test?

When the test is over you may eat, drink and return to your normal routine. You may resume all of your medications and you may have caffeinated products. The images will be reviewed by the physician. The results will be discussed with you and we will explain how the results relate to your health at your follow up appointment.