Nuclear stress test imaging is a series of cardiac imaging studies conducted at rest and during exercise. The exercise portion may be conducted on a treadmill, with pharmacological agents to simulate exercise, or a combination of both. These tests are usually conducted in the nuclear radiology department, an ambulatory cardiac diagnostic site, or a physician office. It uses the same principles as a basic exercise stress test, but provides significantly more information.

A nuclear stress test is conducted in two phases; a resting image of the heart with a nuclear isotope and the exercise portion of the test with additional isotopes. The resting phase can be conducted before or after the exercise portion of the test. The resting images are usually obtained approximately 30 – 45 minutes after injection to allow for maximal circulation of the isotope. Near the end of the exercise portion of the stress test, a second nuclear isotope injection occurs and repeat imaging will occur approximately 45 minutes after later to allow for maximal circulation. The entire procedure will take 3 to 4 hours.

The reason your physician has ordered you a nuclear stress test is to determine if the blow flow to your heart muscle is normal or abnormal. The nuclear isotopes highlight areas in your heart muscle when they have abnormal circulation. If you are found to have abnormal circulation, you and your physician will determine the necessary steps to return your coronary circulation as close to normal as possible.

How to receive stress test imaging at Inova

To receive stress test imaging at Inova, you must have a valid written order from your physician and call 877-634-6682 to schedule an appointment for this cardiac noninvasive diagnostic test.