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Stress Test

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Treadmill Cardiolite Stress Test and Cardiolite Stress Test with IV Adenosine

A Nuclear Medicine Stress Test is a diagnostic exam used to determine if your heart muscle is getting an adequate blood supply. It involves the injection of Cardiolite, a small amount of radioactive material, which is cleared from your body by natural processes. The amount of radiation you are exposed to is comparable to that from an x-ray. (view info on Cardiac PET stress testing)

This exam usually consists of two parts - Rest and Stress

  • Cardiolite is administered by injection while you are at rest, and a camera takes pictures of your heart.
  • Cardiolite is administered to you one other time by an injection during exercise (stress portion), and additional pictures are taken of your heart.

The pictures are generally taken one to three hours after the cardiolite is administered. Routinely,  your test will be performed in two days with the resting portion on day 1 and the stress portion on day 2.

Prior to the stress exam, you will be asked to sign a consent form. If you have any questions about the procedure, do not hesitate to ask the person supervising the test.

What Should I Do Before the Test?

  • You will be asked not to eat three hours prior to the STRESS portion of the test. This will prevent the possibility of nausea, which may accompany exercising after eating.
  • It is crucial that you DO NOT have any form of caffeine 24 hours prior to the STRESS portion of the test. This includes decaffeinated products.
  • Unless your physician specifically instructs you to hold a medication, all medications can be taken normally with water.
  • For the exercise portion of the test, please wear a comfortable two piece outfit and good walking shoes.
  • Please bring a list of the medications you are currently taking.

What Will Happen During the Resting Test?

For the resting portion of the exam, Cardiolite will be injected into a vein in your arm and the resting images will be taken one to three hours later. During this time, it is necessary for you to eat something with fat content and drink something carbonated, preferably Sprite or 7-UP. The reason we ask you to do this is because it helps process the isotope and we are able to obtain better images.

For the imaging portion of the exam, you will be asked to lie flat on your back on an imaging table. The camera takes 32 pictures at various angles and takes approximately 20 minutes. The camera is NOT a tunnel and you will be able to see out at all times. It is important for you to remain very still and breathe normal while images are being taken.

What Will Happen During The Stress Test?

Several small pads (electrodes) will be placed on your chest. These pads will be connected to an electrocardiograph (ECG) monitor so that your heart rhythm can be watched closely throughout the exercise portion of the test. An IV line will be placed in your arm. This line will be used to inject Cardiolite into your bloodstream during exercise. The IV line will be removed as soon as the exercise portion is completed.

Treadmill Stress Test- You will exercise by walking on a treadmill. As you exercise longer and harder, your heart rate and blood pressure will rise. This is a normal response to exercise and it will be monitored along with your ECG. Throughout the stress exam, you will be encouraged to continually exercise. It is your responsibility to immediately tell the person supervising the test of any unusual symptoms, such as chest discomfort, shortness of breath, or lightheadedness. To increase the effectiveness of the test, it is important to exercise as long as you can.

Cardiolite will be injected through the IV line approximately one minute before the end of the exercise and will be immediately carried to the heart by the blood. Approximately, one to three hourse after this injection, you will be asked to return for a second set of images used to visualized the Cardiolite in your heart at stress. During this time, it may be necessary for you to eat something with fat content and carbonation.

Adenosine Stress Test- For those who are unable to exercise on a treadmill, we provide them with an Adenosine infusion which is injected with the cardiolite. The IV is then removed as soon as the stress portion is completed. If you are physically able, you will be asked to walk slow and flat on a treadmill for four minutes while the adenosine infuses. By doing this it decreases some of the potential side effects of the medicine. If you are physically unable to walk, you will be asked to do some leg and arm exercises instead of doing the treadmill.

As the adenosine is given, you may feel flushed, chest pressure/pain, shortness of breath, nausea, headache or some other discomfort. These are perfectly normal side effects, but it is important that you inform the person supervising the test. Usually, these side effects disappear within a minute after the infusion is over.

After the Test

Following completion of the exam, you may resume your normal activities, but follow any special instructions you may be given. The test is sent to your doctor for review, and results are usually available within a few days. It is recommended that you make an appointment with your physician to review the results. If you have any further questions concerning this procedure, please call our office.