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* Nothing to eat or drink, except water, 4 hours before your test.

* Bring food for each day of the test.

* No caffeine products 24 hours prior to the stress day of the test.

* Hold Viagra, Levitra & Cialis 48 hours prior to the test.

* Hold other medications as ordered by your doctor.

A nuclear stress test is performed to evaluate the circulation of blood to the heart.  The exam is performed over a two day period.  Day one consists of an injection of a nuclear isotope to observe how the circulation is at rest.  After the injection there will be a wait prior to pictures under the nuclear camera.  During this time it is necessary for you to eat so bring some food with you.  Day two involves an exercise stress test with injection of the isotope. A cardiac stress is an exercise tolerance test designed to increase an individual's heart rate - to "stress" the heart while hooked up to an EKG.  This is performed and monitored by a medical professional who is looking for any abnormalities that suggest the presence of  heart disease.

The test is used to detect certain abnormalities, to monitor patients with known heart disease and to check the effectiveness of treatment or surgery.  

The isotope is radioactive.  Side effects or reactions resulting from the administration of the isotope are extremely rare.  The isotope is injected into the bloodstream and absorbed by healthy heart muscle.  Damaged heart muscle or poor circulation to the muscle will affect the distribution of the isotope in the heart.

A cardiac nurse will prepare you for your stress test.  An intravenous will be placed for isotope administration.  Electrode patches will be placed on your chest.  You will have a baseline EKG done and your blood pressure will  be checked.  Any questions that you have will be answered.  

The purpose of the test is to gradually increase your heart rate.  You will be asked to walk on a treadmill.  Your blood pressure, heart rate, and EKG will be monitored.

It is important that you report any chest pain, chest pressure, shortness of breath, pain in your arms or neck, tiredness or any other discomfort you may feel while performing the test.

The nuclear medicine technologist will administer the isotope into the IV.  You will be informed when the isotope is being administered and will need to continue to exercise for a full minute.  The test is geared  to your age, health status, and ability.  The test may be terminated at any time.

Once the treadmill stops you be monitored closely and the IV will be removed.  Images will be again taken of your heart.  You may have a wait before the pictures and you may be able to eat at this time.

Upon completion of the study, a cardiologist will interpret the results.  A report will be forwarded to your cardiologist and primary care physician.  Unless otherwise instructed, you should make an appointment with your cardiologist or physician to discuss the results of the test.

The exercise test may cause (in some people): skipped heart beats, chest pain, in very rare instances; a heart attack, in extremely rare instances; death.  These occurrences are extremely rare.  Every effort is made to avoid or minimize these occurrences.  Personnel and equipment are readily available if such an event should occur.

 

 

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