A nuclear exercise stress test is a diagnostic test used to evaluate blood flow to the heart. During the test, a small amount of radioactive tracer is injected into a vein. A special camera, called a gamma camera, detects the radiation released by the tracer to produce computer images of the heart.
Combined with exercise, the test can help determine if there is adequate blood flow to the heart during activity versus at rest.
Yes. However, DO NOT eat or drink anything for 4 hours before the test. If you must take medications, drink only small sips of water to help you swallow your pills.
Avoid all products containing caffeine for 24 hours before the test. In general, caffeine is found in coffee, tea, soft drinks and chocolate products.
Also avoid decaffeinated or caffeine-free products for 24 hours before the test, as these products contain trace amounts of caffeine.
Please bring a copy of all of your medications, including over-the-counter medications and supplements that you routinely take, to the test appointment.
Please follow these guidelines about taking your medications the day of the test.
If you take heart medications: DO NOT take the following heart medications on the day of the test unless your physician tells you otherwise, or unless it is needed to treat chest discomfort the day of the test:
Your physician may also ask you to stop taking other heart medications on the day of your test. If you have any questions about your medications, ask your physician. Do not discontinue any medication without first talking with your physician.
Please wear comfortable clothes and shoes suitable for walking during the test.
The appointment will take about 2 - 3 hours. The actual exercise part of the test lasts about 7 - 12 minutes.
After the cardiologist reviews your test, the results will go into your electronic medical record. Your referring physician will have access to the results and will contact you to discuss them.
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This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider for advice about a specific medical condition.
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