A test for nuclear stress usually uses a radioactive dye along with an image machine in order to create pictures to display the blood flow to the patient’s heart. This test measures the blood flow when you are exercising or at rest. This helps the doctors to identify the areas where blood flow is poor or heart is damaged. With two sets of images of your heart, first one when you are exerting yourself and another is when you are at rest – nuclear stress test is accomplished.
Nuclear heart stress test usually takes place in the ICANL licensed labs. This test utilizes radioactive tracers in order to visualize blood flow to the muscles of heart.
Two different variations of radioactive tracers are used here. One is provided at the peak hours of exercise or after the exercise or medication and a set of picture is taken. Another is provided while at rest and blood flow to the heart is determined by a camera.
The stress image and the rest image are often compared in order to understand if there are any changes in the blood supply or heart function with stress. This may suggest a blockage in the coronary artery which feed the muscles of the heart.
Let’s take a look at two distinct types of tests for nuclear stress.
- Exercise nuclear stress test – During this test the doctors take picture of the patient’s heart at rest after providing the first tracer as mentioned above. Then, you (as the patient) start to walk on the treadmill akin to the exercise treadmill stress test.
Once you ate at the peak of exercise capacity, the next tracer will be provided and another set of pictures will be taken.
- Regadenoson or Lexi Scan Stress test – Here, the doctors take a few pictures of the patient’s heart at rest. After that they will offer the patient a medication that can simulate the result of an exercise on the coronary artery and the second tracer. Another set of pictures will be taken after that. You will not require any exercise for the test.
The nuclear stress test typically takes around 2 to 3 hours which will need to you to have an IV kept on your arm. It is recommended to carry comfortable running or walking shoes as well as athletic outfit to successfully accomplish an exercise nuclear test. But other than these, nothing special is required.