Nuclear Stress Test

What is a Nuclear Stress Test?

Your physician may recommend that you have a Nuclear Stress Test to obtain further information about your heart. The procedure evaluates blood flow and function of the heart muscle.

A tracer is injected in a vein in your arm and a camera scans the tracer during your heart’s rest and exercise phase. If you are not able to exercise, a medication may be used as a substitute.

What can I expect during the exam?
  • You may wear your clothes throughout your test** (no snaps or metal buttons on the front of the shirt)
  • During the test you will be given a tracer through an IV in your arm.
  • Small pads (electrodes) are placed on your upper body to monitor your heart rate.
  • Your first pictures are taken at rest.
  • To get your heart working hard, you will exercise on a treadmill for several minutes.
  • If you are not able to exercise a medication may be used as a substitute
  • During the test your heartbeat and blood pressure are monitored closely
How do I prepare for the exam?
  • The day before your test, you need to stop smoking and avoid caffeine.
  • Don’t eat or drink for 4 to 6 hours before the test. Sips of water are okay.
  • Be sure to wear walking shoes and a 2-piece outfit for the test.
  • You don’t have to exercise long, but you should allow 3 to 4 hours for the entire test.
Let the Technologist Know:
  • What medicine you take
  • If you are diabetic, have knee or hip problems, arthritis, asthma, or chronic lung disease
  • If you have had a stroke or have vascular disease of the leg
  • If you are pregnant, think you might be, or are nursing
Be sure to tell the doctor if you feel any of the following during the test:
  • Chest, arm or jaw discomfort
  • Severe shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Leg cramps or pain
  • Fatigue
What can I expect after the exam?

Ask when you may eat and if you should take any medicine you were told to skip before the test. Most people can return to their normal routines as soon as all parts of the test are finished. The tracer leaves you body within hours.

Your Test Results

The final results of your cardiac nuclear imaging procedure will be available from your physician 2 business days following the procedure. The test results help your physician plan your treatment and any other tests that are needed.

Any urgent results are called to your physician as soon as your exam is reviewed.

What do I do if I need to cancel this exam?

Test cancellation during business hours call 239-936-4068. Our staff will contract you several days prior to your appointment to confirm your arrival times, preparation and any cancellation instructions.

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