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Nuclear Stress Department

What is a Nuclear Stress Test?

A nuclear stress test measures blood flow to your heart at rest and while your heart is working harder as a result of exertion or medication. The test provides images that can show areas of low blood flow through the heart and damaged heart muscle.

The test usually involves taking two sets of images of your heart — one while you're at rest and another after you heart is stressed, either by exercise or medication.

You may be given a nuclear stress test, which involves injecting a radioactive tracer into your bloodstream, if your doctor suspects you have coronary artery disease or if a routine stress test didn't pinpoint the cause of symptoms such as chest pain or shortness of breath. A nuclear stress test may also be used to guide your treatment if you've been diagnosed with a heart condition.


Your doctor may recommend a nuclear stress test to:

  • Diagnose coronary artery disease. Your coronary arteries are the major blood vessels that supply your heart with blood, oxygen and nutrients. Coronary artery disease develops when these arteries become damaged or diseased — usually due to a buildup of deposits called plaques.

    If you have symptoms that might indicate coronary artery disease, such as shortness of breath or chest pains, a nuclear stress test can help determine if you have coronary artery disease.

  • See the size and shape of your heart. The images from a nuclear stress test can show your doctor if your heart is enlarged and can measure its pumping function (ejection fraction).

  • Guide treatment of heart disorders. If you've been diagnosed with coronary artery disease, arrhythmia or another heart condition, a nuclear stress test can help your doctor find out how well treatment is working. It may also be used to help establish the right treatment plan for you by determining how much exercise your heart can handle.

Schedule  Appointment 


  • No food 2 hours prior to testing: patients may drink only water.

  • Please bring a list of all your medications with you.

  • Diabetics: Please eat a light breakfast 2 hours prior to exam.

  • Take diabetic medication with your light meal.

  • No caffeinated products 24 prior to your examination.

     (Chocolate, Caffeinated/Non-Caffeinated, Soda/Pop, Coffee/Decaf, Tea)

  • Avoid medication containing caffeine (Excedrin & PMS medications)

  • Avoid medication containing Theophylline 36hrs.prior to exam.

  • Heart/blood pressure medication must be stopped 24hrs. prior to exam.

  • No tobacco 2-4 hour prior to exam.

     (This includes any tobacco products as well as nicotine patch and/or gum).

  • Please wear loose comfortable clothes with no metal above waist.

  • Rubber soled shoes are required for treadmill.

  • Nuclear Stress Average Testing Time is 2-4 hours.

  • Stress Echo/Treadmill Only Stress Average Testing Time is ½ hr.-1hr.









Patient Instructions

In The News: How To Quit Smoking


Article date: September 30, 2015

By Stacy Simon

Tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the United States. Since the release of the Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and health 50 years ago, there have been 20 million deaths due to tobacco. Almost half the deaths from 12 different types of cancer combined – including lung, voice box, throat, esophagus, and bladder cancers – are attributable to cigarette smoking alone.

In addition to cancer, smoking greatly increases the risk of debilitating long-term lung diseases like emphysema and chronic bronchitis. It also raises the risk for heart attack, stroke, blood vessel diseases, and eye diseases. Half of all smokers who keep smoking will eventually die from a smoking-related illness.

That’s why it’s so important to quit. And no matter how old you are or how long you’ve smoked, quitting can help you live longer and be healthier. But quitting is hard, mostly because nicotine, a drug found naturally in tobacco, is so addictive. It’s as addictive as heroin or cocaine. Even so, millions of Americans have quit, and you can too. People have used many different methods to quit. Here is what the research tells us about how well they work:


  • Great American Smokeout
  • Guide to Quitting Smoking
  • Helping a Smoker Quit: Do's and Don'ts
  • Stories of Hope


Research shows that using a medication to help you quit smoking can double your chances of being successful.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved 7 medications to safely and effectively help people quit smoking. Choosing which one to use is often a matter of personal choice and should be discussed with your pharmacist or health care provider.

Three of these medications are available over-the-counter at most pharmacies and can be helpful in easing the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal when used as directed.

  • Nicotine gum
  • Nicotine patches
  • Nicotine lozenges

Four other medications are available by prescription.

  • Nicotine inhalers
  • Nicotine nasal sprays
  • Zyban (bupropion) – an antidepressant
  • Chantix (varenicline) – a drug that blocks the effects of nicotine in the brain
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