Nuclear Stress Test
A nuclear stress test is performed to check the blood flow to the heart, both at rest and during activity. This diagnostic test shows pictures of the heart for monitoring the size of the heart’s chambers, how well the heart is pumping blood, and to check whether the heart muscles are in good condition. Nuclear stress test can also be carried out to check if the arteries have been narrowed or blocked due to coronary artery disease.
Why is nuclear stress test performed?
A nuclear stress test is a diagnostic test that is performed to evaluate blood flow to the heart. This test is done to check if the heart muscle is getting enough blood and oxygen, during activity, i.e. when it is under stress.
How is nuclear stress test performed?
During this test, a small amount of radioactive substance (tracer) such as thallium or sestamibi is injected into a vein. The patient then lies down and waits for around 15 to 45 minutes. After that, the gamma camera scans the heart to show how the tracer has travelled through the blood. The camera detects the radiation released by the tracer and created images of the heart.
This test also includes exercise, where the patient is asked to walk the treadmill and the radioactive substance is injected again into the vein to evaluate the heart during activity versus at rest.
Results of a nuclear stress test can help
- Evaluate how well heart is pumping blood
- Diagnose coronary artery disease and also determine its treatment
- See the size of heart chambers
- Determine the condition of heart muscles
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