1 Day Nuclear Exercise Stress Test
The technologist will insert an intravenous (IV) line into a vein in your arm or hand in order to inject a small amount of Cardiolite, which is a radioactive tracer that is carried by the bloodstream to your heart. Approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour after the injection, the technologist will take pictures of your heart for about 10-15 minutes with a gamma camera that detects the radioactive injection. You will either be sitting upright or reclined on the imaging chair. It is very important to breathe normally and remain still while you are being imaged. These images represent the blood supply to the heart at rest.
Once the first set of images are complete, you will be prepared for the exercise stress test. ECG electrodes will be placed on your chest to monitor your heart rhythm throughout the test. You will then begin to exercise on a treadmill, during which your heart rate, blood pressure, and ECG will be continuously monitored. Once you have achieved your target heart rate, a second dose of Cardiolite will be injected through the intravenous line, and you will continue exercising for an additional 1-2 minutes. If blood flow to the heart is limited due to CAD, then the amount of Cardiolite delivered to the heart is reduced. Following the exercise stress test, the IV will be removed. You will be asked to eat prior to the second set of images, as eating helps to improve the image quality. The technologist will advise you when to return for imaging (approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour after the stress test). 1 or 2 stress images will be acquired (sitting upright and/or reclined), and this will take about 5-10 minutes. The second set of images represent the blood supply to the heart at stress. Once the stress images are acquired, the test is complete.