Understanding Nuclear Stress Testing

For this test, a radiotracer is administered intravenously, and an imaging machine captures pictures of the tracer’s movement through the heart’s arteries. This imaging helps Dr. Sharma to pinpoint any areas that are structurally damaged or are performing functionally subpar. Nuclear stress testing techniques are one of a handful of approaches to stress test diagnostics. For those with coronary artery disease, a nuclear stress test in Orlando can play a key role in establishing a patient’s level of risk for having a major cardiac event like a heart attack.

Dr. Sharma interviewing a patient.

What is Nuclear Stress Testing?

Nuclear stress testing is an imaging method where a small amount of radioactive material is injected to trace blood flow in, through and out of the heart. The blood flow is tracked both while the patient is inactive and during activity. At the conclusion of the test, results from each stage – resting and exercising – are compared and assessed.

What is Nuclear Stress Testing Used to Examine?

Nuclear stress tests are primarily used to diagnose and formulate a treatment plan for coronary artery disease. Additionally, this test may be used for reasons like the following:

  • To see if there is a heart-related cause of patient reported symptoms.
  • To establish a safe level of physical exertion for patients with heart disease or conditions.
  • To check the efficacy of a balloon angioplasty or stent placement.
  • To check the efficacy of a coronary artery bypass operation. 

Who Needs Nuclear Stress Testing?

Dr. Sharma may suggest proceeding with a nuclear stress test in Orlando if the patient reports symptoms such as the following:

  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • History of heart attack
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What to Expect from a Nuclear Stress Test in Orlando

At Heartwell Cardiology, we like to do everything we can to ensure our patients are relaxed and comfortable during diagnostic procedures. But, by virtue of the fact that exercise is a key component of this test, it’s obvious that you can expect not to feel relaxed during portions of the exam. Here is an overview of what you can expect from a nuclear stress test:

  • Dr. Sharma will start an I.V. line to inject the radiotracer. The substance might feel cold when it goes into your vein.
  • The resting phase of the exam begins. You’ll rest on one of our comfortable exam tables and a scanner machine will take imaging of your heart.
  • The stress portion commences. The blood vessels in your heart will react to the stress agent, most patients dont feel anything. Some patients might experience some difficulty breathing or uneasiness. Not to worry, this passes in a few seconds.
  • Once your heart has reached its peak vasodilatation level, Dr. Sharma will again inject the radiotracer and further scans will be taken.

Nuclear Stress Testing FAQs

What kind of scanner is used during a nuclear stress test?

Are there any required preparations?

How long is the recovery?

How long does a nuclear stress test take?

What kind of scanner is used during a nuclear stress test?

Either a PET (positron emission technology) or SPECT (single-photon emissions computed tomography) scanner is used.

Are there any required preparations?

Dr. Sharma will inform patients of proper preparations.

How long is the recovery?

Patients usually go home the same day and can immediately resume normal diet and activities.

How long does a nuclear stress test take?

An hour to two hours.

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Get the Diagnostic Details

Visit Heartwell Cardiology to see how we’re transforming the patient experience as they undergo diagnostic testing. The last thing we want for any of our heart patients is for them to be burdened by worry. Shed the weight of worry by letting us take care of the diagnostic details. Orlando cardiologist Dr. Sharma delivers diagnostic examinations in-office. Our practice is an inviting environment where patients can count on getting answers to all their health questions. Call us today or schedule your nuclear stress test here.

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