Nuclear stress testing is a diagnostic procedure for examining how well your heart functions. Board-certified cardiology and interventional cardiology specialists Rakesh Sahni, MD, and Sheila Sahni, MD, of Sahni Heart Center in Clark, Fords, Red Bank, and City of Orange, New Jersey, offer state-of-the-art nuclear stress testing facilities for patients who are having problems getting a diagnosis. Make an appointment over the phone today, or you can also use the online booking form for Sahni Heart Center’s Clark, New Jersey, office.

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What is nuclear stress testing?

Nuclear stress testing measures the blood flow through your heart while you’re resting and during exercise.

There are two ways of carrying out nuclear stress testing. The main method is for you to walk on a treadmill or exercise bike, gradually increasing your heart rate as you exercise harder.

If you aren’t well enough to exercise in this way, Dr. Sahni can give you medication that has the same effect on your heart as exercise.

During nuclear stress testing, you have a radioactive dye circulating in your blood that shows up on X-ray. The test results show any areas where there’s poor blood flow or heart damage.

Why would I need to do nuclear stress testing?

Dr. Sahni might recommend nuclear stress testing if you’ve already been through routine stress testing, and it didn’t find any problems that could explain your symptoms.

Nuclear stress testing is useful for diagnosing coronary artery disease. If you’ve been experiencing symptoms like chest pain or being short of breath, a nuclear stress test can help Dr. Sahni see if you have coronary artery disease. The test also measures the severity of your condition.

Nuclear stress testing is also a valuable tool for assessing your progress after you start on a treatment plan for an existing heart problem. The test can tell Dr. Sahni what a safe level of exercise is for your heart as you progress through your rehabilitation.

What happens during nuclear stress testing?

Before you begin the nuclear stress testing process, you have an IV (intravenous) line put in your arm. Radioactive dye (radiotracer) goes through the IV into your bloodstream. It might feel cold to start with. It takes between 20 and 40 minutes for the radiotracer to get into the cells in your heart.

When the radiotracer is in your heart, you start exercising. You carry on until your heart reaches a certain rate unless you start having difficulties. You get further doses of radiotracer when your heart rate reaches its peak, then another dose 20-40 minutes later.

During the process, you have two X-rays taken, so Dr. Sahni can compare how well the blood flowed through your heart when you were resting and when you were exercising.

If you’re experiencing any problems with your heart, call Sahni Heart Center today, or you can choose to book online for the Clark, New Jersey, office.