Nuclear Stress Test

A nuclear stress test measures the amount of blood in your heart muscle at rest and during exercise. This test often done to find out what may be causing symptoms like angina (such as chest pain or pressure). It may be done after a heart attack to see if areas of the heart are not getting enough blood or to find out how much heart muscle has been damaged from the heart attack.

There are two parts to the this nuclear stress test. There is a Rest test  and a Stress test.

On the day of the Rest test the patient will receive an injection in the vein (IV) of medication that allows us to take the pictures of the blood flood to the heart at rest. After a waiting period we take the images on the camera. 

On the day of the Stress test the patient will have an IV placed in the vein and will be connected to an EKG. We will then perform the stress portion of the test and the patient and then the medication that allows us to take pictures of the blood flow to the heart is given while at "stress". After a waiting period we take the images on the camera.

The physician orders the way we do the stress test. We use two different ways to perform the stress portion of the test:


The patient will walk/run on an incline and till we reach a target heart rate or until the patient is no long able to continue.


A medication is given that will dilate the arteries around the heart.

This test is also known by other names including myocardial perfusion scan, myocardial perfusion imaging, sestamibi cardiac scan, Spect scan, and mibi.