A stress test is performed to determine causes of chest pain, to identify rhythm changes during exercise and to evaluate your heart's capacity for exercise. Your EKG and blood pressure will be recorded while you walk on a treadmill. You will exercise until you reach your target heart rate or until the doctor stops the test because of changes in your EKG, blood pressure or if chest pain develops. Once you are finished exercising your EKG and blood pressure will be monitored for about 5 minutes.
Nuclear Stress Test
A nuclear stress test is a walking stress test or a medication stress test supplemented by the use of an isotope, which is injected into a vein. The isotope is absorbed only into normal heart muscle cells where it is viewed with a special scanner. If a section of the heart muscle is not getting an adequate blood supply, the isotope is not absorbed and that part of the heart will not show up on the image produced by the scanner.
The first part of this test will be done in the Radiology department. The Nuclear Medicine tech will start an IV, inject the isotope and then send you to eat a little food. When you return to Radiology you will lie under the scanner for about 20 minutes for the first set of pictures. Next you will come to Non-Invasive Cardiology for the stress portion of the test where you will either be walking on a treadmill or having a medication given to you to exercise your heart. During this portion your EKG and blood pressure will be monitored. More isotope will also be given to you through your IV during this part. After the stress you may be asked to get more to eat before your second set of pictures, if not you will go directly back to Radiology for them. The second set of pictures will take about 20 minutes also.