Nuclear Stress Test

November 12, 2012

Nuclear Stress Test

The patientÂ’s heart may need testing to examine the capability of the heart to do work when required. A nuclear stress test may be the answer.

A nuclear stress test, which is also known as myocardial perfusion imaging, is a test which looks at the flow of blood to the heart muscle. This is carried out when at rest and also with exercise. Rather than doing the exercises the doctor may give medication which imitates the effects of exercising.

It may be the artery is narrow and the flow of blood is sufficient when at rest. But when exercising the narrow artery is unable to increase blood flow to the heart. A nuclear stress test is able to view and measure the blood flowing to the heart as it should. But it also views the areas where the blood flowing to heart has not been increased.

One method to check how the heart operates when exercising is to work on a treadmill.

Approximately 40% of the patients who have problems with their heart will not take part in the exercise on the treadmill. This is because their body is not able to perform to its highest level in order to make the heart work hard. In these cases, patients are given the medication which mimics the effect of carrying out exercise.

A nuclear stress test is excellent in discovering and identifying patients who may be at a high risk of developing heart disease. It is also good at identifying patients who have a very low risk of developing heart disease. It is very useful in providing a diagnosis in people who may already have coronary disease. It also benefits patients who have coronary disease. The nuclear stress test is also able to provide information with regard to the severity of the known heart disease. The test can also give information in which the medical team can make a prognosis for the patient.

Should a person be considered to be at low risk of coronary disease then only a diagnostic test is required. It may be suggested by the medical staff to do an exercise test rather than the nuclear stress test. This type of testing is simply known as a standard exercise test.

This standard exercise test with no imaging can have benefits to people who consider themselves to be healthy. It may be that they are looking for confirmation on the status of their health. Or it could be they want to find out if they are at risk of developing or have coronary disease. This test without the imaging would be carried out on these patients.


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