Nuclear Stress Testing

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If you experience symptoms related to heart disease, including shortness of breath or chest pain, Dr. Gottam may order a nuclear stress test. This procedure aids in the guidance of treatment for those with a diagnosed heart condition and involves the use of a tracer. This tracer contains small amounts of radioactive material. There are multiple types of nuclear stress tests, each one being administered to address different concerns. They may be paired with an exercise stress test to provide information regarding your heart, or they may be used on their own. 

How and Why A Nuclear Stress Test May Be Ordered

The nuclear stress test, also known as a myocardial perfusion imaging study (MPI), is performed with PET or SPECT scanners. PET stands for Positron emission technology scanner (PET), while SPECT stands for single-photon emission computer tomography. This procedure may be ordered for a number of reasons, including:

  • Diagnosing Coronary Artery Disease – As the major blood vessels to your heart, your coronary arteries provide nutrients, oxygen, and blood to this organ. When these pathways become diseased or damaged as the result of plaque or cholesterol, then coronary artery disease develops. A nuclear stress test can determine if coronary artery disease is present and how severe it is.
  • Develop Treatment Plans – Once diagnosed with coronary artery disease, this test may be ordered to provide guidance for treatment. It can also determine the level of exercise your heart can tolerate. 

These tests are generally safe and rarely result in complications. When these rare occasions crop up, the complications generally include:

  • Abnormal Heart Rhythms – Also known as arrhythmia, these conditions are rarely life-threatening. When they occur as part of a stress test, they tend to pass after the medication wears off or you stop exercising.
  • Heart Attack – This is an extremely rare occurrence during a stress test. However, the probability remains higher than zero.
  • Low Blood Pressure – It’s possible for hypotension, or low blood pressure, to occur following exercise. This may make you feel dizzy or even faint. This typically passes after exercise has ceased.
  • Dizziness or Chest Pain – Some patients may experience headaches, flushing, shakiness, nausea, shortness of breath, or anxiety as part of a stress test. These feelings are typically brief and mild.

If you experience any of these symptoms during or after your test, inform Dr. Gottam. They’ll be able to provide guidance in the event that action is needed. In most cases, the side effects will pass without incident.

Learn More About Your Test By Calling Our Offices

If you’ve been scheduled for a Nuclear Stress Test, you can learn more about what to expect by calling our offices. The team at Metro Detroit Cardiovascular Associates will answer all your questions and help you prepare for your visit. Prior to the test, Dr. Gottam will go over the details of your procedure in full detail. This is the perfect opportunity to learn how to prepare for your visit. We look forward to seeing you at our clinics in Detroit, MI, and aiding you on the way to better heart health.