Nuclear Medicine Stress Test
(Myocardial Perfusion Imaging Study)
The Nuclear Medicine Stress Test is a safe and powerful tool used to see images of your heart while you are at rest and shortly after a period of stress. Stress is induced either through exercise (Treadmill Stress Test) or through an injection of Lexiscan (Chemical Stress Test). Lexiscan mimics the effect of exercise.
Nuclear Stress Tests provide information about the circulation and function of your heart. This test can be used to examine the blood flow to the heart, determine the amount of damage to the heart muscle after a heart attack, diagnose the cause of chest pain (angina) and check the health of your arteries. This information helps your physician develop the best treatment plan for your long-term heart health.
24 HOURS PRIOR: NO SMOKING AND NO CAFFEINE or caffeinated products such as coffee, soft drinks, soda or tea. This includes decaffeinated or diet products! No chocolate for 24 hours prior. Viagra or Cialas should not be taken for 24 hours prior to your test
6 HOURS PRIOR: No eating or drinking. Water is okay but avoid caffeine. If diabetic and on insulin or oral hypoglycemic medications, you may eat a light snack with water only.
Please shower or bathe the day of the test or evening prior. DO NOT apply lotion or powder to your chest. Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothes (separates) and walking shoes for exercise. If you use an inhaler for asthma or COPD, please bring it to the test.
Bring a snack with you (sandwich, beverage, anything you desire) and the technician will inform you when okay to eat. You may take all medications unless directed by your doctor. If you have mobility issues and are unable to walk or transfer yourself, you must bring a companion with you to help. Please arrive 15 minutes prior to your appointment time for check in.
This test will take about 3 - 4 hours in the office.
- An IV will be started in your arm. A dose of a very safe radiopharmaceutical (Myoview) is injected. This travels through the body and concentrates in your heart. There are no side effects, and it does not change how your heart functions. The nuclear camera does not go over your head but pivots over the chest to take images of the heart. Next, to exercise your heart for the stress test, one of 2 methods will be used.
- Nuclear Treadmill Study: You will be asked to walk on a treadmill until your heart reaches an 85% maximum predicted heart rate (calculation based on age). Your doctor may attend this part of the test. Once your heart rate has increased, the imaging isotope will be injected through the IV. Pictures will be taken a second time of your heart.
- Pharmacological Study: Lexiscan will be given through your IV for 10 seconds. You may or may not experience shortness of breath, chest discomfort, headache, nausea, and/or a warm flushed feeling. If experienced, these symptoms subside shortly after stopping the medication. Pictures will be taken a second time of your heart.
- 15-120 minutes after the Stress Test, “stress images” will be taken while your heart rhythm is monitored. This completes the exam.
Important: If you are unable to walk or transfer yourself, you must bring an aid or companion to help you. Our staff cannot assist with transferring or lifting of patients. If you do not have assistance available, call our office and we will assist in scheduling you at another facility.
If you are pregnant or think you may be, notify your doctor before taking the test.
To avoid a $200 cancellation fee, you must cancel this test at least 24 hours in advance by calling 858-244-6800.