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Stress Test

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 experiences irregular blood flow. The Buckeye Heart & Vascular Institute provides stress tests as a part of our heart and vascular services. 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 do you perform a treadmill stress test?

A treadmill stress test helps your doctor:

  • Assess your risk for heart attack
  • Diagnose coronary artery disease
  • Assess 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 tests to assess 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 IV injection, so patients must follow a certain preparation requirement before they start their test. A nuclear stress test is performed to identify the cause of chest pain, assess the level of physical activity a patient can perform, check the extent of coronary artery blockage, and assess damage after a heart attack.

Nuclear Stress Test What to Expect

During A Standard Stress Test: The treadmill stress test uses either 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, we secure a blood pressure cuff to the arm before the start of the test. If you receive an echocardiogram with your stress test, we take images before and after the stress test.

During the treadmill stress test, your doctor monitors the heart rate, blood pressure, heart rhythm, and 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, a nuclear stress test injects an IV into the hand or arm. We inject a radioactive tracer, and it circulates for 30 minutes.

While the tracer is circulating, we take images of the heart at rest. During the stress portion of the test, we may have to inject a tracer a few more times to obtain the desired images. You may also receive medication to increase blood flow to the heart.

Patients who undergo a nuclear stress test must follow pre-test and post-test instructions. Buckeye Heart & Vascular performs nuclear stress tests in our Beavercreek, OH, location.

Patient Resources for Stress Tests

Nuclear Stress Test FAQs

What does a heart stress test show?

Doctors run a stress test to study how well your heart handles workloads. The test makes your heart work harder to pump more blood. It specifically shows the blood supply in the arteries that lead to the heart and tests how well your blood flow to your heart is.

What happens before a stress test?

Before your stress test, your doctor will ask you some questions about your overall health and cardiovascular activity. This will give them an idea of the amount of exercise they will have you complete for the test. Your doctor will also assess your heart and lungs to ensure they are aware of any abnormalities that may change the outcome of your stress test.

What can I expect after a stress test?

After your stress test, you will likely feel tired and out of breath. We ask you to stand still for a few seconds, and then we tell you you can lie down. During this period, your doctor will observe and check for any abnormalities as your heart rate slows back to normal and your breathing slows down.

How high should your heart rate go during a stress test?

Your age affects the stress test’s desired heart rate. The maximum expected heart rate for adults is 220 minus your age. Therefore, the maximum predicted heart rate for someone 40 years of age is 220 – 40 = 180.

Does a nuclear stress test show blockages in the heart?

The results of a nuclear stress test can reveal the size of the heart’s chambers, the efficiency of the heart’s blood-pump, and the presence of any damaged or degenerated heart muscle. Nuclear stress testing can also tell doctors whether your arteries may be clogged or narrowed as a result of coronary artery disease.

Do you need to rest after a nuclear stress test?

After undergoing a nuclear stress test, people can usually resume their daily activities immediately. To help the tracer leave your body, you may want to drink a lot of water. You might experience fatigue, vertigo, or headaches following the examination. These symptoms typically disappear with time and with rest.

How many hours does a nuclear stress test take?

Your appointment will typically last between two and four hours. A portion of this time is spent getting ready for the stress test and waiting for the heart to absorb the tracer that has been injected into the bloodstream. The rest is spent taking and analyzing measurements from your stress test.