Understanding cardiac stress tests
What is a cardiolite/technetium stress test?
This test determines if your coronary arteries are supplying your heart with enough blood. The cardiolite/technetium is injected through a vein in your arm. Your blood carries the tracer to your heart muscle and through the coronary arteries. Because technetium is a radioactive tracer, a nuclear medicine camera is able to detect its distribution in your heart.
There are two parts of the cardiolite/technetium stress test:
Whether you're having both parts done on the same day or on different days, you should always go to the Radiology Department first, where a nuclear medicine technologist will explain the exam and start the testing
What is a persantine stress test?
If you are unable to walk on the treadmill, a persantine stress test may be administered. You will lie on a bed as the nuclear technician injects persantine and the radioactive trace.
What will happen during a stress test?
- Electrodes are placed on your chest and a blood pressure cuff is wrapped around your arm.
- EKGs will be taken while you are resting.
- As the test begins, you will be asked to walk on the treadmill at a comfortable speed.
- The nuclear trace will be given through the IV.
- The treadmill will gradually increase in incline and speed until heart rate is obtained.
If you are having the entire test in one day:
- An IV will be set in your arm and a nuclear medicine technologist will give you an injection of cardiolite/technetium.
- In about one hour, you will lie down in the nuclear medicine camera for the first set of pictures, which will take about 15 minutes.
- You will then be directed to the Cardiorespiratory Department for the stress part of the exam.
- After the stress portion of the test, you will then return to nuclear medicine for a post-stress set of pictures. This second set of pictures will take about 15 minutes.
If you're having the test in two days:
- The first day is usually the resting exam. A nuclear medicine technologist will give you an injection of cardiolite/technetium.
- In about one hour, you will lie down in the nuclear medicine camera for the first set of pictures.
- On the day you're having the stress part of the exam, you'll go to Radiology again, where an IV will be set in your arm. You'll then be directed to the Cardiorespiratory Department.
- The next part of the test is done in Cardiorespiratory where a cardiologist will supervise the stress test, during which you will receive the second cardiolite/technetium injection through your IV. Then you will return to Radiology for the second set of pictures.
- You should allow up to 4 to 5 hours to ensure the best technical quality of the test.
For more information
To learn more about ProHealth Care's heart and vascular services, please call 262-928-2330.