Nuclear Stress Test An Overview
Standard Stress Test
A treadmill stress test, also known as a treadmill test or exercise stress test, helps your physician identify how much your heart can manage before it reverts to an abnormal rhythm or experience irregular blood flow. In most cases, a physician will perform a stress test with an EKG and Echocardiogram to get a comprehensive view of the heart and its ability to function.
The treadmill stress test will let your physician know how the heart responds to physical activity and determine if the heart has sustained damage. The treadmill stress test usually takes 30-45 minutes to complete.
Why is a treadmill stress test performed?
A treadmill stress test helps your doctor:
- Asses your risk for heart attack
- Diagnose coronary artery disease
- Asses blood flow during exercise
- Identify abnormal heart rhythm
- Determine if heart valves are functioning properly
Nuclear Stress Test
A cardiologist may perform different types of stress test to asses the condition of your heart, including a nuclear stress test. A nuclear stress test, also known as myocardial perfusion imaging, shows how well blood flows to the heart muscle. Nuclear stress test requires the use of IV injection, so patients will need to follow a certain preparation requirement before they start their test. A nuclear stress test is performed to identify the cause of chest pain, asses the level of physical activity a patient can perform, check the extent of coronary artery blockage, and asses damage after a heart attack.
Nuclear Stress Test What to Expect
During A Standard Stress Test: The treadmill stress test is either performed on a treadmill or a stationary bike. Before the start of the stress test, electrodes are attached to the chest, arms, and legs. To monitor blood pressure during the stress test a blood pressure cuff is secured to the arm before the start of the test. If you are receiving an echocardiogram with you stress test, images are taken before and after the stress test.
During the treadmill stress test, your doctor will monitor the heart rate, blood pressure, heart rhythm, and heart function. The stress test begins slowly, and the exercise level gradually increases throughout the duration of the test. The stress test ends once you can no longer keep up with the pace of the test or until the targetted heart rate is achieved. Once the treadmill stress test is completed, your physician will interpret the readings and determine if further testing or treatment is needed.
During a nuclear stress test: What to expect during a nuclear stress test is similar to a standard stress test. However, with a nuclear stress test, an IV is injected into the hand or arm. A radioactive tracer is injected and circulates for 30 minutes. While the tracer is circulating, images are taken of the heart at rest. During the stress portion of the test, a tracer may need to be injected a few more times to obtain the desired images; you may also receive a medication to increase blood flow to the heart.
Patients who undergo a nuclear stress test will need to follow pre-test and post-test instructions. Buckeye Heart & Vascular performs nuclear stress test in our Beavercreek, OH, location.
Patient Resources for Stress Tests