Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Will I need to run on a treadmill during my nuclear stress test?"
How is the test performed?
While this is not a steadfast rule, most nuclear stress tests do not use a treadmill. The way they work is a bit complicated, but I will try to explain. A nuclear stress test starts with an injection of a safe, radioactive material into your blood. This material travels to your heart and gets into the heart cells. A radioactive detector (scanner) detects where the material has gone. If there are areas of the heart that don't "light up" with the radioactive tracer, those are areas of the hearts circulation that has blockages. After the first set of pictures are taken, the person is injected with a drug which causes the heart to beat faster and harder (mimicking exercise). This increases blood flow to the heart, increasing the amount of tracer that the heart muscle sees. If there is a small blockage, then this area of the heart will not have an increase in the amount of tracer. The nuclear stress test is used when the person that is being tested can't exercise to the level necessary to make a treadmill test worth while. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with a cardiologist. This is the doctor that will read your stress test and determine if more testing and/or therapy is needed. Good luck.
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