Nuclear Exercise Testing, Nuclear Stress Test Bethpage Farmingdale, Hicksville, NY

Nuclear Exercise Testing, Nuclear Stress Test Bethpage Farmingdale, Hicksville, NY

The physician usually prescribes a nuclear stress test if a patient has a history of heart problems. It is generally recommended if the patient has previously suffered a heart attack, has been diagnosed with coronary artery disease, or there are causes of concern regarding suspected heart disease symptoms.

A nuclear stress test provides accurate, detailed images for a comprehensive examination of the heart. At LI Medical Group, our healthcare team provides accurate nuclear exercise testing at our state-of-the-art facility in Bethpage Farmingdale, NY.

Our nuclear stress test specialists are dedicated to serving the residents of Hicksville, Farmingdale, and other areas across New York. Schedule a consultation today.

What is a nuclear stress test?

A nuclear stress test is also known as nuclear cardiac imaging. It is used to measure the blood flow to the heart when the patient is at rest and after doing an activity such as exercising. It produces images of the heart’s chambers, shows the functioning of the heart and whether any of the heart’s arteries have any blockages or damages.

It is similar to the exercise stress test, except the patient is given a harmless amount of a radioactive substance just before the end of the nuclear exercise testing part.

How does it work?

A nuclear stress test involves injecting a radioactive tracer, which is not harmful to your body or organs. Next, a state-of-the-art gamma camera is used to detect the radiation released by the tracer to produce images of the heart on a monitor. Two sets of images of your heart will be taken, one in which you are at rest and another after exercise.

It is usually performed along with an exercise stress test, where the patient is required to walk on a treadmill.

The results could show:

  • Normal blood flow, during exercise and rest - there is sufficient and enough blood flow to your heart.
  • Normal blood flow during rest, but not during exercise - Your heart’s blood flow is insufficient when you're exercising. It could be due to coronary artery disease. Further tests may be required.
  • Low blood flow during rest and exercise - It may indicate that a part of your heart’s arteries may have blockages or dead tissues, due to severe coronary artery disease or a previous heart attack.
  • Lack of blood flow in parts of your heart - If the radioactive substance does not appear in any particular part of your heart during the test, it indicates that you have damage from a heart attack.
How accurate is the nuclear stress test?

During the nuclear stress test, the radioactive substance that acts as a “dye” can give physicians more accurate information about the size of a heart’s muscles. It has an estimated 85% accuracy rate in determining coronary diseases and blockages in the arteries. At LI Medical Group, we employ advanced technology at our state-of-the-art facility for highly accurate results.

If you need nuclear stress testing, schedule a consultation with our healthcare experts!

What to expect during the nuclear stress test?
  • Similar to the stress test, electrodes will be placed on your chest for nuclear exercise testing. These electrodes will be attached to an electrocardiogram device.
  • The testing technician will inject your arm with a small amount of the FDA-approved radioactive tracer.
  • Once the radioactive substance has entered your blood, the technician will scan your heart as the substance travels to different parts of your body.
  • In the next phase of the test, patients are asked to walk on a treadmill to increase their heart rate. The patient will start to run at a slow speed, and the speed will be increased until they reach the target level of activity.
  • When the target activity level has been achieved, the doctor will inject another small dose of the radioactive tracer and take the second set of images. However, if a patient is unable to perform any exercise, he/she will be given a medicine that increases his/her heart rate safely and mimics the effect of exercising to capture the images.
  • The nuclear stress test may take 2-4 hours, including time taken for preparation before the testing. Although the actual exercising part usually only takes 7-12 minutes. The scans and the time it takes for the radioactive substance to reach the heart may take around 60 minutes.