What is nuclear stress testing?
A nuclear test is an imaging test that uses radioactive dye to show the movement of blood into your heart. The stress test monitors the flow of your blood both at rest and during stress or physical activity.
Nuclear stress testing provides your ECCA doctor with more details about your heart health than a conventional stress test.
Why are nuclear stress tests performed?
If you suffer from concerning symptoms like chest pain or shortness of breath, a nuclear stress test can help determine the cause of your symptoms as well as your risk of a heart attack and other cardiac events. A nuclear stress test is frequently used to diagnose and guide treatment for coronary heart disease.
Coronary heart disease refers to damage or disease to your major blood vessels. These vessels are responsible for carrying blood, oxygen, and nutrients to your heart.
Coronary heart disease is caused by plaque build-up and inflammation in your arteries. Issues like smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and inactivity contribute to plaque build-up and artery damage. The disease can lead to heart arrhythmia, heart attacks, and heart failure.
What should I expect from nuclear stress testing?
Prior to the test, you and your ECCA doctor discuss your symptoms, medical history, and activity level. To begin the test, they insert radioactive dye through an intravenous line in your arm.
The radioactive dye may feel cold when first injected, and takes up to 40 minutes for the heart to absorb. Your doctor places electrodes on your chest, legs, and arms that record the electrical signals in your heart.
The test records the first images while you’re at rest. It takes the second set of images while you’re on a treadmill or stationary bike. The intensity of the exercise increases throughout the test.
If you’re unable to exercise, your doctor can administer a drug through your IV that increases the flow of blood to your heart.
After nuclear stress testing, you can return to your normal activities. Your body naturally expels the radioactive dye. During your follow-up appointment, you and your doctor discuss your results and options for effective treatment.
To speak with a doctor about nuclear stress testing, call ECCA or book an appointment online today.