What can I expect from a Nuclear Medicine Stress Test?

What can I expect from a Nuclear Medicine Stress Test?

A nuclear stress test shows how well blood flows through your heart and arteries while you are resting and during physical exertion. In this test, a small amount of radioactive tracer is injected into your body. This substance allows images of the heart to be recorded so that your doctor can see:

  • How well the heart is pumping blood
  • If a part of the heart has been damaged
  • If any of the arteries that feed the heart are blocked

What happens during the test?

Two sets of images will be taken, one while you are resting and one after you have exercised or received a pharmacological agent for those who are unable to excercise. This test is usually done in a special area called a lab.

You will be asked to lie down on an examining table. An IV will be placed into a vein in your arm or hand. A radioactive substance will then be injected through the IV. You will need to lie still with your arms above your head for a few minutes to allow the substance to circulate through your body.

Your exercise test

Before the exercise party of the test, small disks called electrodes will be placed on your chest. The electrodes are connected to an electrocardiogram machine. An electrocardiogram charts your heart’s electrical activity.

You will then walk on a treadmill or received a pharmacological agent for those who are unable to exercise.

You will be asked how you are feeling. Be sure to report any symptoms you may have, such as pain or discomfort in your chest, arm or jaw, shortness of breath or dizziness.

If you are unable to exercise, you will be given a medication that causes the heart and blood vessels to react as they would during exercise. The medication may cause sensations such as shortness of breath, headache or some slight abdominal cramping. This is normal and will go away in 4-5 minutes.

Please allow one week to receive your test results.  If you don’t receive your results within a week, we ask that you call our office.

If you are signed up for the patient portal, please remember to check it for results.


Your doctor’s recommendation

Feeling uncertain about your health can be stressful for you and your family. Because you have had this test, you know that any advice about treatment is based on facts discovered during your test. You may be advised to have more tests or you may need medication or a surgical or nonsurgical treatment. Whatever your doctor’s recommendation, you can rest assured that it is based on the best possible information.

It is important to note that the radioactive tracers used in this test is safe and will not harm your body.

Charles A. Shoultz, III, M.D., F.A.C.C.   •   Rodney A. Brown, M.D., F.A.C.C.
William R. Pitts, M.D., F.A.C.C.   •   Donald S. (Buck) Cross, M.D., F.A.C.C. • Andrew K. Day, M.D., F.A.C.C.
Sherwin F. Attai, M.D., F.A.C.C.   •   Shawn J. Skeen, M.D. F.A.C.C.   •   Harvey R. Chen, M.D. F.A.C.C.
Adam M. Falcone, M.D., F.A.C.C.   •   Brian C. Barnett, M.D., F.A.C.C.   •   Timothy N. Ball, M.D., F.A.C.C.   •   Clay M. Barbin, M.D., F.A.C.C.

Diplomates, American Board of Internal Medicine,
Cardiovascular Disease, Interventional Cardiology, Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology