Having a Cardiac Nuclear Medicine Scan
What is a Cardiac Nuclear Medicine Scan?
A Cardiac Nuclear Medicine Scan looks at how well your heart is working. It can also look at how well blood is flowing in your heart muscle. A radioactive material called a tracer is used to make the pictures of your body.
This test is called by many names, including:
- Adenosine Stress Test
- Cardiolite Stress Test
- Dobutamine Stress Test
- Myocardial Perfusion Test
- Nuclear Medicine Stress Test
- Thallium Stress Test
How long does the Cardiac Nuclear Medicine test take?
This test is given in three parts. The entire test may take five to six hours.
Where can I have the Cardiac Nuclear Medicine Scan done?
The test can be done at Miami Valley Hospital (MVH) and at Miami Valley Hospital South.
When should I arrive for the Cardiac Nuclear Medicine Scan?
Arrive 30 minutes prior to your scheduled exam to give our staff time to review your medical information.
What are the risks of having a Cardiac Nuclear Medicine Scan?
The radioactivity of the tracer is extremely low and has no side effects. Allergic reactions are very rare and are usually mild. Be sure to inform your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Your physician may tell you to not have the scan at this time. Learn more about the benefits versus the risks of having a Cardiac Nuclear Medicine Scan .
How do I prepare for the Cardiac Nuclear Medicine Scan?
Your preparations for a Cardiac Nuclear Medicine Scan will include:
- Nothing to eat or drink after midnight the day of your exam
- No caffeine products—such as regular or decaffeinated coffee, chocolate or soda—24 hours prior to your exam
- Medications may be taken with a sip of water
- Bring all your medications to your exam
- Follow your physician’s orders to stop and resume medications
- Wear comfortable clothing and shoes
What happens during a Cardiac Nuclear Medicine Scan?
Before the exam begins, tell the technologist if you have asthma or chronic lung disease, or any problems with your knees, hips or balance. If you have consumed any caffeine products during the past 24 hours, your exam may be cancelled. If not, you will be given a medicine to make your heart work a little harder, as if you were exercising.
This test is done in three parts:
- Cardiac Resting Imaging - An intravenous (IV) needle is placed in your hand or arm and the tracer is injected. You will wait one hour and be given a glass of cold water to drink. The first set of pictures will then be taken of your heart in the Nuclear Medicine department.
- Cardiac Stress Test - You will go to the Cardiology department and either walk on a treadmill or be given medicine that will stress your heart as if you were exercising. You will also be attached to an electrocardiogram (EKG) machine and your blood pressure taken. After this part of the test, you may take a break and get something to eat.
- Cardiac Stress Imaging - You will return to the Nuclear Medicine department and a last set of pictures will be taken.
What can I expect after the Cardiac Nuclear Medicine Scan?
Your doctor should receive the results of your scan in two to three business days.
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