Myocardial Perfusion Imaging with Stress Tests

About the test

A nuclear stress test measures blood flow to your heart muscle, both at rest and as you put stress on your heart. It is performed similar to a routine exercise stress test, but provides images that can show areas of low blood flow through the heart and areas of damaged heart muscle.

A nuclear stress test usually involves taking two sets of images of your heart — one set during an exercise stress test while you’re exercising on a treadmill, or with medication that dilate the arteries of your heart, and another while you’re at rest. A nuclear stress test is used to gather information about how well your heart works during physical activity and at rest.

How the test is performed

  • All nuclear stress tests are performed at Platte Valley Medical Center in the Medical Imaging Department.
  • You will receive a radioisotope and get nuclear images first. An IV will be in placed in your arm for administration of the radioisotope and medications as needed.
  • You will then go to another room for the “stress” portion of the test which will either be done on a treadmill or with medication. A respiratory therapist will place a 12-lead EKG on your chest, a blood pressure cuff, as well as an oxygen monitor.
  • After the stress portion, either on the treadmill or after medication is completed, you will receive a second set of images that we will use to compare.
  • The results will be faxed to your referring provider within 48-72 hours after the test is completed.
  • A nuclear stress test is typically an outpatient procedure that does not require hospital admission. It can, however, be scheduled during an inpatient admission if ordered by your provider.


How to prepare for the test

  • Do not eat, smoke, or drink beverages containing caffeine or alcohol for three (3) hours (or more) before the test. Wear comfortable shoes and loose clothing to allow you to exercise.
  • Ask your health care provider if you should take any of your regular medicines on the day of the test. Some medicines may interfere with test results. Never stop taking any medicine without first talking to your doctor.
  • Tell your doctor if you are taking Viagra (sildenafil citrate), Cialis (tadalafil), or Levitra (vardenafil) and have taken a dose within the past 24 to 48 hours.
  • You will usually be asked to avoid caffeine for 24 hours before the test. This includes:

– Tea and coffee

– All soda, even ones that are labeled caffeine-free

– Chocolate

– Certain pain relievers that contain caffeine