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A Nuclear Stress Test is a non-invasive advanced heart stress test that uses safe levels of radioactive substances and a cardiac imaging scan to evaluate blood flow to the heart. The level of radiation is low and is not associated with any known immediate side effects. The camera used during the test will help produce images of the blood flow to your heart and specifically looks for areas of poor blood flow or damage (prior heart attacks) in your heart. It will also assess if prior heart stents or bypass grafts are working as they should and evaluates if your heart is healthy enough for non-cardiac surgery or exercise. If you have decreased blood flow this can indicate a blockage in one or multiple arteries in your heart. This test can take between 2-4 hours.

Download PDF version of the Patient Instructions and Consent here.

​Instructions the Day Prior

ABSOLUTELY DO NOT do any of these before the TEST:

  • NO CAFFEINE 24 hours before (it can alter the results)
  • NO CHOCOLATE (cocoa products in candy, cakes, brownies, pudding, chocolate milk)
  • NO COFFEE or TEA or SODA (caffeinated OR DECAFFEINATED) *
  • NO TABACCO/NICOTINE 12 hours before the test *NO SMOKING * NO CHEW* NO VAPING
  • NO FOOD/EATING 4 hours before the test *
  • NO ENERGY DRINKS 24 hours before to test
  • NO DRINKING 4 hours before the test (small sips of water are ok to take that morning with needed medication. NO other fluid/drinks).
  • NO JEWELREY around your neck or metal buttons on your shirt
  • NO LOTIONS or POWDER on your chest

The Only Medications to hold PRIOR: Please READ CAREFULLY:

  • NO Aggrenox /Persantine (24 hours before)
  • NO theophylline/aminophylline (48 hours before)
  • NO Excedrin migraine, vivarin, NoDoz, (24 hours before)
  • NO Viagra/Levitra (24 hours prior)
  • NO Cialis * SEVEN DAYS PRIOR
  • NO Nitrates (24 hours prior): RANEXA, IMDUR, Nitroglycerin tablets

​Instructions the Day of the Test

Step 1: On arrival: Medical history is taken. Medications are reviewed. IV is started.
Step 2: Medication given (radioactive substance), and one hour after the injection (time for medication to circulate in blood stream to heart) the first set of images are taken (15-20 min)
Step 3: Second set of medication given through IV (chemical simulating stress on the heart). (Again, allow time for circulation 45 min- 1 hour). After 1 hour a second set of images are taken.
Step 4: AFTER the stress test is complete you will be able to EAT and DRINK. You will be monitored for another 15-30 min. Once completed you will be free to go home.

Test results typically take 2-3 days to result.

Please:

  • Drink and hydrate well the day before (to make getting IV access easier).
  • Bring your medication list or bring all medications to the test.
  • Take your morning Blood Pressure Medications as prescribed.  Only stop the medication listed above.
  • Be aware that you can take your Diabetic Medications following the test with food. 
  • Please wear comfortable, non-restrictive clothing so they do not interfer with the test. 
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