WHAT IS A NUCLEAR STRESS TEST?
A stress test is used by doctors to diagnose heart disease. If your doctor wants you to have a stress test, you may have symptoms of heart disease or certain risk factors for it. Not everyone who has a stress test has heart disease. Your test results can help your doctor determine if you have disease or if you may be at risk for a heart attack.
WHY USE A RADIOACTIVE TRACER?
Radioactive tracer, also known as Cardiolite or Sestamibi, is an imaging agent used in stress tests to see how well blood is flowing to the heart muscle and through the heart. This visualization of the blood flow is referred to as nuclear imaging or myocardial perfusion imaging (MPI). If you have a stress test with nuclear imaging, you will be injected with a small amount of radioactive tracer and a special camera will be used to take pictures of your heart. Please discuss any concerns regarding this procedure with your doctor.
IF YOU ARE PREGNANT, THINK YOU MAY BE PREGNANT, OR IF YOU ARE BREASTFEEDING, YOU MUST INFORM YOUR DOCTOR BEFORE SCHEDULING THIS PROCEDURE AND INFORM THE TECHNOLOGIST BEFORE YOUR TREATMENT OR STUDY BEGINS.
WHY DOES MY DOCTOR WANT ME TO HAVE THIS TEST?
YOUR DOCTOR ALREADY KNOWS YOU HAVE HEART DISEASE AND WANTS TO MONITOR YOUR CONDITION.
There are several reasons you may be asked to have a stress test with nuclear imaging.
If you have already been diagnosed with heart disease your doctor may ask for a stress test to:
- look for any heart damage you may have
- track the progress of your condition and assess your risk for problems in the future
- determine how well your treatment is working
HOW DOES THE TEST WORK?
A stress test with nuclear imaging usually consists of taking pictures of your heart in two phases: a resting phase and a stress phase.
WHERE ARE THE TESTS GIVEN?
Stress tests are given in special offices called nuclear medicine or nuclear cardiology labs. Our nuclear medicine department at Fayetteville Medical Associates is located at the address below:
Fayetteville Medical Associates
207 South Elk Avenue
Fayetteville TN 37334
WHO PERFORMS STRESS TESTS?
The stress tests are performed by healthcare providers specially trained to give them. At FMA, our stress tests and imaging are performed by a board certified nuclear medicine technologist.
HOW LONG DOES THE TEST TAKE?
Stress tests may be completed in 1 day or on 2 separate days. Normally, the test takes 3-4 hours to complete, and can be done in one day. If the test is done on 2 separate days, the test will take about 2 hours each day.
HOW SHOULD I PREPARE FOR THE TEST?
When your appointment is booked, you should receive a sheet of instructions that will tell you how to prepare for the test and list your appointment time. Some of the things you may be expected to do are:
- NOT to eat or drink for 4-6 hours before the test. Patients with diabetes may receive special instructions. This will be addressed on the instruction sheet.
- Not to take some of your medicines before the test. Your doctor will tell you which ones.
- AVOID CAFFEINE FOR 24 HOURS BEFORE THE TEST. Caffeine may affect your results, and in some cases will force the test to be rescheduled.
FOR A COMPLETE LIST OF INSTRUCTIONS, PLEASE CLICK HERE, OR GO TO PATIENT FORMS.