Advanced Heart & Vascular Specialists
Cardiology & Vascular Specialists located in Las Vegas, NV
Effective treatment for a heart condition requires knowing which part of your heart is malfunctioning or damaged. The cardiac experts at Advanced Heart & Vascular Specialists in Las Vegas use nuclear testing to get a detailed image of your heart as it beats at rest and after activity. This information enables these highly-respected specialists to identify the cause of your cardiac symptoms, so they can design treatment strategies that help protect your health. Call the office today to schedule an appointment or book your visit online.
Nuclear Testing Q & A
What is nuclear testing?
Often referred to as a nuclear stress test, cardiac nuclear testing uses radioactive dye injected into your bloodstream and specialized imaging equipment to create a detailed map of how blood flows through your heart. The radioactive dye helps “light up” heart tissue so that a problem such as a blocked artery becomes obvious.
What can a nuclear stress test show?
A nuclear stress test can show:
- The size of your heart’s chambers
- How well your heart pumps blood
- Whether your heart has any damaged or dead muscle tissue
- Narrowed or blocked arteries due to coronary artery disease
When gauging your cardiac health, it’s very important to know how your heart responds to physical stress related to activity. If you’re unable to exercise or can’t exercise long enough to raise your heart rate to the targeted level, you’ll be given medication that increases blood flow to your heart to mimic physical exertion.
What can I expect during a nuclear stress test?
Your cardiologist provides specific instructions about the test before you schedule the procedure. Generally, however, a nuclear stress test proceeds in phases and may take 2-3 hours to complete.
During the initial, resting phase of the study, an intravenous (IV) line is placed and the radioactive dye is injected. Most patients report a cold sensation near the IV at the start of the injection, but it’s otherwise painless. It typically takes your heart 30-40 minutes to absorb the dye. Once that occurs, you lie still as images of your heart at rest are recorded and stored for later interpretation.
For the stress portion of the test, you walk on a treadmill or pedal a stationary bike until your heart reaches a previously calculated target rate. Or, if necessary, you’ll receive medication that stresses your heart. Your cardiologist remains in the room during the stress test, and you’re carefully monitored throughout with an electrocardiogram and blood pressure readings. The test is halted if concerning symptoms arise.
Once you reach a maximum heart rate, more radioactive dye is injected, and imaging studies are repeated. Your doctor then carefully examines and compares the images.
For expert cardiac care you can rely on, schedule a visit at Advanced Heart & Vascular Specialists today. Call the office or book your appointment online.