How is the stress test performed?
The stress test is performed in the office. Upon arrival you will sign in
for your appointment. A nuclear technician will call you from the waiting
room and bring you into a treatment room. In this room, an intravenous (IV)
line is started and medication is given. You will be escorted back to the
waiting room for approximately 30 minutes to one hour. During this time, the
medication that was given in the IV line will circulate through the body.
After waiting, you will be brought to the camera room. For this part of
the test, you will sit on a chair that will rotate very slowly so that the
first set of heart images will be taken. After these images are obtained the
exercise portion of the stress test will occur.
You will be brought into the stress testing room and attached to a
cardiac monitor. Your blood pressure will be monitored before, during, and
after the test is completed. Depending on the type of stress test you have,
it will determine the amount and type of exercise you perform. Some people
walk on the treadmill and some people do arm exercises. This part of test
does not last very long, approximately 20 minutes total time. Half way
through the stress test, another injection is given in the IV line. Once the
test is completed, you will be detached from the monitor, the IV line will
be removed, and you will be escorted to the waiting room.
At this time, you can have a snack or just rest. Approximately 30 minutes
to one hour later, you will be brought back to the camera room again for a
second set of heart pictures. At this time, the test is completed and you
can go home. At a follow-up visit, the physician will review your test
results. The results are compiled by comparing the first set of heart
pictures with the second set.
Risks of having the stress testA
Nuclear stress tests are very safe procedures. However, as with any
procedure there is a risk of complications. People can experience abnormal
blood pressure, chest pressure (angina), lightheadedness, fainting,
palpitations, heart rhythm abnormalities, and in very rare instances, heart
attack, cardiac arrest, and a 1 in 12,000 chance of death