Nuclear Stress Test at Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare - Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare

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Nuclear Stress Test at Wheaton

Your Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare physician may recommend a Nuclear Stress Test as a way to screen or diagnose heart conditions. The test provides information about your heart's ability to deal with an increased need for blood and oxygen, which occurs during exercise.

You may be familiar with these tests under other names:

  • Cardiolite Stress Test
  • Persantine Stress Test
  • Adenosine Stress Test
  • Dobutamine Stress Test
  • Myocardial Perfusion Scan
  • Exercise or Pharmacological Stress Test

When is a Nuclear Stress Test Needed?

A Nuclear Stress Test may be performed to:

  • Diagnose disease of the arteries in the heart
  • Diagnose the cause of chest pain
  • Determine the level of the heart’s physical condition
  • Assess the degree of recovery after coronary bypass surgery or PTCA/stent (angioplasty)
  • Determine how well the heart is recovering after a heart attack
  • Identify the causes of irregular heart rhythm

What To Expect During a Nuclear Stress Test

During a Nuclear Stress Test, an electrocardiogram (ECG) records your heart’s electrical activity while you exercise on a treadmill (if you are able) or during the infusion of a stress agent. A special, radioactive tracer is injected into your blood stream. The radioactive dose gives you slightly more radiation than what you would receive from a chest X-ray. It is not iodine-based nor is it considered "dye" or "contrast" – which is used during CT or MRI tests.

Images will be taken of your heart at rest after a 30-minute wait. Then for the stress test, electrodes will be placed on your chest. A blood pressure cuff will allow monitoring before, during and after your test. During the stress portion of the exam, another small amount of tracer will be injected through the IV. Finally, a last set of images will be taken roughly 30 minutes post-stress injection.

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