A pharmacologic nuclear stress test is performed to evaluate the circulation of blood to the heart. The exam is performed over a two day period. Day one consists of an injection of a nuclear isotope to observe how the circulation is at rest. After the injection there will be a wait prior to pictures under the nuclear camera. During this time it is necessary for you to eat so bring some food with you. Day two involves an injection of a medicine to mimic exercise conditions on the heart, usually Lexiscan® or dobutamine. This is followed by another injection of the isotope. The test is performed and monitored by a medical professional who is looking for any abnormalities that suggest the presence of heart disease. The test is used to detect certain abnormalities, to monitor patients with known heart disease and to check the effectiveness of treatment or surgery.
The isotope is radioactive. Side effects or reactions resulting from the administration of the isotope are extremely rare. The isotope is injected into the bloodstream and absorbed by healthy heart muscle. Damaged heart muscle or poor circulation to the muscle will affect the distribution of the isotope in the heart.
A cardiac nurse will prepare you for your stress test. An intravenous will be placed for the medicine and isotope. Electrode patches will be placed on your chest. You will have a baseline EKG done and your blood pressure will be checked. Any questions that you have will be answered.
The administration of the medicine and observation takes about 20 minutes. Your heart rate, blood pressure and EKG will be monitored throughout. It is important that you report any chest pain, chest pressure, shortness of breath, pain in your arms or neck, tiredness or any other discomfort you may feel while performing the test.
The nurse will administer the isotope into the IV. You will be informed when the isotope is being administered. You may receive a reversal agent to counteract the medication and the test may be terminated at any time.
Once the medicines have been administered, images will be again taken of your heart. You will have a wait before the pictures and you will need to eat at this time.
Upon completion of the study, a cardiologist will interpret the results. A report will be forwarded to your cardiologist and primary care physician. Unless otherwise instructed, you should make an appointment with your cardiologist or physician to discuss the results of the test.
The test may cause (in some people): skipped heart beats, chest pain, in very rare instances; a heart attack, in extremely rare instances; death. These occurrences are extremely rare. Every effort is made to avoid or minimize these occurrences. Personnel and equipment are readily available if such an event should occur.
***YOU MUST BRING SOMETHING TO EAT BOTH DAYS, THIS IS PART OF THE TEST***
The radionuclide is ordered specifically for you. If you are unable to keep your appointment, please call the office at 587-7625 between 9 am and 5 pm. Kindly give a 24 hour notice if cancelling your appointment. If your test is ordered by your primary care physician please bring a script ordering your test.
****NO CAFFEINE 24 HOURS PRIOR TO THE STRESS DAY OF THE TEST**** Click here for a list of caffeine products.
- Nothing to eat or drink, except water 4 hours before your test. If you have had difficulty with needle sticks please drink extra water to make the injections easier.
- No smoking 4 hours before your test.
- Wear comfortable clothes. (Women may change into a gown from the waist up). If you need to change - please arrive early and change in the rest room prior to your appointment.
- Please notify our office if you are pregnant or nursing 48 hours prior to your appointment.
- Bathe or shower prior to undergoing the test as the skin needs to be free of oils where the electrode patches are placed for the EKG.
- Your chest may need to be shaved for proper electrode placement. Do not use bath or body oil, lotion or powder. (Deodorant is allowed).
- Each day of the test may take up to 3 hours.
- Please leave unnecessary valuables at home.
- Please bring a copy of a list of all the medications that you currently take, including dosage(s) and how often you take them.
- Hold any medications as instructed by your ordering physician.
- Do not take Cialis, Levitra, Viagra 48 hours prior to the stress portion of the test.
- Do not take Theo Dur, Theophylline, Theo 24, Uniphyl, Slobid, for at least 12 hours prior to the stress portion of the test.
- Persantine/Dipyridamole and Aggrenox should be held for 48 hours prior to stress portion of the test.
- Hold water pills the morning of the test