What is a Stress Test?
A nuclear stress test will allow your physician to evaluate blood flow to the heart muscle. The test is proven to be safe, accurate and convenient. It serves as a method for identifying blocked coronary arteries, as well as any pervious heart damage.
A cardiologist will be present during the stress portion of the test. The nuclear stress test requires 2-3 hours to complete. However, you will spend some of the time relaxing in our waiting room.
Upon arrival to our facility an intravenous (IV) line is placed in your arm. A small amount of radioactive tracer (Myoview) is given through the IV. Myoview is a tracer and not a “dye”; no side effects should be expected.
After an initial 30 minute waiting period, an imaging scan of your heart is performed while you are lying down or reclining.
Next you will walk on a treadmill. During the treadmill test, your electrocardiogram (EKG) and blood pressure are constantly monitored. While you are walking on the treadmill, a second small amount of Myoview is administered.
Following the treadmill test, there is another waiting period followed by a second imaging scan. If you are an outpatient, you will be permitted to drive after your test is completed. If unable to exercise adequately on of these following medications will be given instead.
Lexiscan OR Dobutamine
Patients unable to walk on the treadmill will receive a medication that simulates the effects of exercise, called Lexiscan or Dobutamine. This medicine is used for individuals who are unable to exercise adequately. During the medication infusion, your electrocardiogram (EKG) and blood pressure are constantly monitored.
While you are receiving the medication, a second small amount of Myoview is administered. Following this infusion, there is another waiting period followed by a second imaging scan.
In most cases patients may experience shortness of breath, nausea and occasional headache. Coffee and/or soda can be given afterwards to help alleviate symptoms.
If you are an outpatient, you will be permitted to drive after your test is completed.
- Absolutely NO caffeine 12 hours prior to test. This includes chocolate, coffee, tea and soda (even decaf). We cannot emphasize this enough, as any caffeine adversely affects the accuracy of the test. Any caffeine consumption up to 12 hours before your test may result in your test being rescheduled.
- You may eat a light meal (i.e., toast, juice) up to 4 hours prior to the test. If absolutely necessary, diabetic patients may eat a small snack during these 4 hours to control blood sugar.
- Blood pressure medications must be avoided 48 hours prior to the test.
- Unless otherwise instructed, please take your other medications as usual.
- If you use inhalers, bring them to the test.
- Wear comfortable walking shoes and pants. Your shirt should not have metal buttons, snaps or zippers.
- NO Smoking for 24 hours prior to the test.
Outpatients: A board certified cardiologist will review your images after your test is completed. A report will be sent to your primary care physician within 24-48 hours. For inpatients, the ordering physician will be notified the same day.
Inpatients: Physicians usually tell the patients if the test is normal that they will be able to go home. This does not mean that as soon as the test is completed you will be discharged. What this means is that the study must be read and there are images that must be looked at by the physician, which at times will be after they are finished with all procedures and/or seeing patients in their office. Nursing must receive a call to inform them that the test has been read and is normal prior to the patient being discharged.