Reliable Care for a Nuclear Stress Test in Williamsport, PA
A nuclear stress test, or stress echocardiogram, may be given to measure blood flow to the heart during periods of rest and activity. The test provides images that show areas of low blood flow through the heart and damaged heart muscles.
Why a Nuclear Stress Test Is Performed
Doctors use nuclear stress tests for several reasons, including:
- Diagnosing coronary artery disease. If you have symptoms such as shortness of breath or chest pain, a nuclear stress test can help confirm or rule out a diagnosis.
- Guiding treatment of heart disorders. If you’ve been diagnosed with coronary artery disease, an arrhythmia or some other type of heart condition, a nuclear stress test can show how well treatment is working. It can also help determine the right treatment by showing your doctor how much exercise your heart can handle.
- Evaluating the size and shape of the heart. Images from the test can show if you have an enlarged heart and measure how well the heart pumps.
Talk with a provider at UPMC Susquehanna to learn more about how a nuclear stress test is used to diagnose heart conditions.
What to Expect with a Nuclear Stress Test at UPMC Susquehanna
A nuclear stress test may be performed at a UPMC Susquehanna hospital. The test can take anywhere from two to five hours. Before the test begins, a technician will put an intravenous line (IV) into your arm or hand, then place electrodes on your arms, legs and chest. These are connected by wires to an electrocardiogram machine which records the electrical activity of your heart. You’ll also wear a blood pressure cuff on your arm during the test.
During the exercise portion of the test, you’ll likely walk on a treadmill at various speeds. You’ll continue exercising until your heart has reached a target mark or you develop symptoms that don’t allow you to continue (such as chest pain, dizziness, severe shortness of breath, etc).
A radioactive dye will be injected into your bloodstream through the IV and pictures will be taken of your heart at rest. After you’ve been given medication or exercised, you’ll receive more dye through the IV. The dye will show if there are any areas of inadequate blood flow to the heart.
Results of a Nuclear Stress Test
Once the test is complete, your doctor will review the results with you. These results may show:
- Normal blood flow during exercise and rest. You may not need any further testing.
- Normal blood flow during rest, but not exercise. This may indicate one or more blocked arteries.
- Low blood flow during rest and exercise. A portion of your heart isn’t getting enough blood flow at all times, which may be caused by coronary artery disease or a previous heart attack.
- Lack of dye in parts of your heart. Areas of your heart may have tissue damage from a heart attack.
UPMC Susquehanna offers a complete range of cardiac diagnostic tests, including nuclear stress tests, in Williamsport, PA, and the surrounding areas.