Nuclear Stress Test


These tests allow doctors to determine how well your heart functions when it is made to work harder via walking on a treadmill or using a medication to simulate exercise. Nuclear images of your heart are taken before and after the stress tests. The nuclear image allows the doctor to see the blow flow in your heart. It is more precise than a stress test without nuclear images.


  1. Wear comfortable clothing and walking shoes.
  2. Unless otherwise advised by your doctor, take all medications as prescribed with the exception of the following:
    • 48 hours prior to the test, do not take any of the following medications unless otherwise advised by your doctor: Viagra (sildenafil), Levitra (vardenafil), Cialis (tadalafil), Persantine (dipyridamole), Aggrenox, Dipyridamole.
    • 12 hours prior to the test, do not take any COFFEE/CAFFEINATED PRODUCTS and any of the following medication unless otherwise advised by your doctor: theophylline (Theodur), carvedilol (Coreg), metoprolol (Lopressor), atenolol, bisoprolol, diltiazem (Cardizem), digoxin or verapamil.

Description of the Test:

  1. After you arrive, an intravenous access (IV “port”) will be started in your hand or your arm. For the first part of the test, a small amount of radioactive medication will be injected into your bloodstream. This medication travels to the heart and gives us information about its blood supply. After a waiting period of approximately 45 minutes, you will lie underneath a camera while images are obtained of your heart.
  2. The second part of the test involves either an exercise stress test or a pharmacological stress test followed by a 45 minute waiting period.
    • During an exercise stress test you will be asked to walk on a treadmill while your heart rate and blood pressure are being monitored. A second injection of a radioactive medication will occur at peak exercise.
    • During a chemical stress test you will sit in a reclining chair while a vasodilator medication is injected into the IV. This medication dilates the arteries of the heart which eliminates the need to exercise. Immediately following the administration of the vasodilator medication a second administration of the radioactive medication will be given.
  3. For the third part of the test you will lie down under the camera again while a second set of heart images are obtained.
    • Please wear shoes appropriate for exercise (No sandals, clogs, or high heels – sneakers are preferred)
    • Wash the chest area and avoid oil, lotion, powder, and perfume.
    • Wear a comfortable two-piece outfit. Dresses, one-piece outfits, turtlenecks, shirts with metallic buttons or zippers are not recommended. NOTE: Exam area tends to be cold. You may want to bring a sweater or jacket.
    • NO food or drink, except plain water, 4-6 hours before the test.
    • Do not smoke, use chewing tobacco, nicotine patches or nicotine gum on the day of the test.
    • Diabetics should eat a light meal 4 hours prior to the test and check with their medical provider regarding any changes in medication dose. You may bring something to eat after the test is completed.
    • NO caffeine 12 hours prior to the test. This includes coffee, soda, or tea of any kind, including decaffeinated products (which may include slight amounts of caffeine). No chocolate (candy, cake, pie, pudding, milk, brownies, dark, semisweet, ice cream, cocoa, etc). No medications which may contain caffeine (Anacin, Cafergot, Esgic, Excedrin, Vanquish, Fiorinal, Fioricet, NoDoz, Vivarin). Caffeine will interfere with the results of your test.
    • If you have asthma or other pulmonary issues, notify your provider and bring your inhalers.

If you need to cancel and reschedule your test, please notify us more than 24 hours in advance to avoid no show/cancellation fees.

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