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Nuclear Stress Test

A “Nuclear Stress Test” measures blood flow to your heart muscle both at rest and during stress (exercise). It provides images that can show areas of low blood flow to the heart and areas of damaged heart muscle. A Nuclear Stress Test may be ordered if your doctor suspects you have coronary artery disease, other heart problems, have been experiencing chest pain, shortness of breath, or to guide your medical treatment. Your doctor will select the type of Nuclear Stress appropriate for you.

General Instructions:

  1. Do not eat or drink anything but a small amount of water four hours prior to the test
  2. Do not drink or eat caffeinated or decaffeinated products (this includes coffee, soda, tea, chocolate or any caffeine-additive drink) 24 hours prior to the test
  3. Do not use tobacco in any form, or be around others who are smoking, the day of the test
  4. Bring all your medications (or list with dosage and frequency) the day of the test
  5. If you take any medications for your heart (including Nitroglycerine patches or tablets), blood pressure, breathing or diabetes, please contact your doctor to see if you need to stop any of the medication prior to the test
  6. If you use an inhaler, bring it with you the day of the test
  7. Wear comfortable clothes. If walking on the treadmill, you’ll be required to wear tennis shoes or other tied shoes. Flip flops or any open back shoes are not acceptable

About the Test:

  1. Be prepared to stay approximately four hours to complete the test
  2. An IV will be started and you’ll be given a small amount of a radioactive tracer called Cardiolite which facilitates obtaining images of your heart when you’re scanned
  3. A resting scan will be completed and then you will undergo one of the following “exercise tests:”
  4. Your doctor will be present during the exercise part of this test and your vital signs and heart rhythm will be closely monitored
  5. Your doctor will contact you to review your test results
  6. Please call Special Procedures at 252-808-6138 or 252-808-6139, Monday -Friday between 8am and 4pm, if you have a question about your test