What is a Nuclear Cardiac Scan?
A nuclear cardiac scan measures blood flow to your heart muscle both at rest and during stress on the heart. It’s performed similar to a routine exercise stress test, but provides images that can show areas of low blood flow through the heart and areas of damaged heart muscle. A nuclear stress test usually involves taking two sets of images of your heart — one set during an exercise stress test while you’re exercising on a treadmill or with medication that stresses your heart, and another while you’re at rest. A nuclear stress test is used to gather information about how well your heart works during physical activity and at rest.
How Do I Prepare for Nuclear Cardiac Scan?
- No food or drink should be ingested for at least four hous before the test.
- Wear comfortable clothing and shoes
- No beta-blockers the morning of the test (unless your physician specifies otherwise). Beta blockers include: Blocadren, Corgard, Inderal, Lopressor, Toprol, Trandate,Sectral, Tenormin, Visken, and Ziac.
- Allow two to three hours for the exam
- Some nuclear tests are scheduled over two days, requiring approximately one and one-half hour per day. This is necessary in order to provide high quality images for some patients.
- Important. For nuclear testing with adenosine stress: No caffeine, coffee or caffeinated beverages for 12 hours prior to the test. This includes colas, tea, chocolate products, and even decaffeinated coffee. No theophylline medications for 24 hours before the test.