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Heart & Vascular

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Nuclear Medicine Tests

Adenosine Cardiolite, Treadmill Cardiolite, Lexiscan Cardiolite,
Dobutamine Cardiolite

What are nuclear medicine tests?
Nuclear Medicine tests are diagnostic exams used to evaluate the supply of blood to the heart muscle. Your heart’s blood supply comes from the coronary arteries. If these arteries are narrowed or blocked, your heart does not receive the blood it needs. This test allows the doctor to see how well your heart is working.

A special camera takes pictures of your blood as it flows through your heart during rest and after exercise. A nurse will place an IV in your arm. A radioactive imaging agent will be injected into your IV, and the camera will scan to see the blood flow to your heart. A cardiologist or radiologist will compare pictures of your heart at rest and after exercise. If you are not able to walk on a treadmill, a medicine (Lexiscan, adenosine or dobutamine) will be given to you to speed up your heart.

Before your nuclear medicine test

  • Do not eat or drink for four hours before your test.
  • Ask your doctor what medicines you should take before the test including prescription, over the counter, herbs, and inhalers.
  • If you have diabetes and take insulin to control your blood sugar, ask your doctor how much to take during the day of the test.
  • If you will be walking on a treadmill, wear comfortable shoes and clothes.

During your nuclear medicine test
When you are in your room, an IV will be placed in your arm. The radioactive imaging agent will be given to you through the IV. There will then be a one hour delay. After the delay, the camera scan for the rest study will be done. You will lie on your back while the camera moves around you for about 15 minutes.

After the rest study, electrodes will be placed on your chest, and a blood pressure cuff will be placed on your arm. This is done to prepare for the exercise study. A cardiologist will monitor you during the exercise study. If you are unable to walk on a treadmill, or if it is unlikely that you will reach an adequate exercise level to stress your heart, Lexiscan, adenosine or dobutamine will be given to you through your IV. You might feel flushed or you might have chest pain and/or shortness of breath. These feelings are normal, but tell your doctor.

When you reach your peak exercise level, you will again receive radioactive imaging agent through your IV. There will be another one hour (maybe less if you walked on a treadmill) delay. After the delay, the camera scan will be done again. If your doctor chooses to use thallium as the imaging agent, you may have a camera scan the next day. These tests may take three to six hours.

After your nuclear medicine test
Check with your nurse about when you can eat, drink and return to normal activities.

If you would like more information, please call 919-350-5390.