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Nuclear Exercise Stress Test is a commonly performed cardiology test. During the test, a small amount of radioactive substance (isotope) is injected into the patient’s bloodstream. The isotope circulates to the heart muscle during exercise. The imaging done after the exercise portion of the test shows areas of the heart that take up none, or only a small portion, of the substance. In this way, the test can indicate whether there are areas of the heart muscle that have diminished blood flow.

Nuclear Exercise Pharmacological Stress Test Instructions

Preparation:

  • IF YOU NEED TO CANCEL, PLEASE GIVE US 48 HRS NOTICE BY CALLING 940-382-8080. THE MEDICATION FOR THIS TEST IS VERY EXPENSIVE AND CAN ONLY BE USED AT YOUR SCHEDULED APPOINTMENT TIME.
  • Allow plenty of time for the test (usually about 4 hours but can be longer) for preparation, completion and recovery period.
  • DO NOT EAT OR DRINK anything after midnight the night prior to the test.
  • ABSOLUTELY NO CAFFEINE FOR 24 HOURS before the test.​
  • Wear comfortable walking shoes and a 2-piece outfit (blouse or shirt and pants).
  • If you are DIABETIC, you may take your medication before 6 A.M. With your medication, you may have 2 pieces of dry toast, a small glass of orange juice, and a small glass of water.
  • Please DO NOT WEAR COLOGNE OR SCENTED LOTIONS to your appointment.
  • CO-INSURANCE IS EXPECTED AT THE TIME OF SERVICE. PLEASE CALL OUR OFFICE FOR FINANCIAL ARRANGEMENTS.

Other preparation:

  • Your family may wait in the waiting room with you  but cannot enter the testing room.
  • One of the technicians will talk with you prior to the test about the risks of the test and will ask you to sign the permit. They will also ask you questions about your medications and other medical information.
  • You will lay down on a hard, narrow table with your arms folded under your head while an x-ray scanner goes back and forth across you chest area for a period of time.
  • You will then be sent back to the waiting room until the next part of the test (the stress test) begins.

During the test:

  • An intravenous line (I.V.) will be started in one of your arms before the test begins.
  • You will be given the radioactive medication through your intravenous line (IV).
  • You will lay down on a hard, narrow table with your arms folded under your head.
  • A large x-ray scanner will go back and forth across your chest area for a period of time while the images are scanned.
  • You will then be sent back to the waiting room to sit until the next part of the test (the stress test) is ready to begin.
  • Your chest area will be cleansed and shaved if needed and sticky pads (electrodes) will be applied to your chest as for an ECG.
  • For the Pharmacologic test, you will sit or lay on a reclining table for a period of time as determined by your response to the test.
  • For the Exercise test, you will sit on a chair until the test begins and during the recovery time, and will walk on a treadmill during the test.
  • Your heart rate and rhythm and your blood pressure will be monitored every 3 – 5 minutes.
  • The technician will be beside you during the test. If you feel any unusual symptoms during the test, please let him (her) know.
  • All needed stress test information will be recorded during the test.
  • After the exercise/ pharmacologic exercise portion of the test, you will lay on a hard, narrow table with your arms folded behind your head for the last scanning portion of the test.
  • A large round x-ray scanner will go back and forth across your chest area for a period of time while the images are scanned.

After the test:

  • Your heart rate and rhythm and blood pressure will be monitored for 5 –10 minutes after you complete the exercise portion of the test. This is called the recovery period.
  • At the end of the test, the sticky pads (electrodes) will be removed, your chest area will be cleansed, and your I.V. will be removed from your arm.
  • After the exercise/ pharmacologic exercise portion of the test, you will lay on a hard, narrow table with your arms folded behind your head for the scanning portion of the test.
  • A large round x-ray scanner will go back and forth across your chest area for a period of time while the images are scanned.
  • The completed test, computer report and images will be reviewed by one of our cardiologists and will be sent to your provider to review.
  • You may resume your usual activities after the test unless you are told otherwise.
  • It is usually your provider’s nurse who contacts you with results of the test or to let you know to come in to discuss it with your provider. You usually will hear from the nurse within 10 – 14 days.