Coronary artery disease usually results from narrowing of coronary vessels leading to impair blood supply to the heart muscles often manifests as chest pain, short of breath, leg swelling and fatigue. However, these symptoms are not always indicative of heart disease. Nuclear stress test is common tool use to diagnose the presence of blockage and to evaluate its severity directing the decision-making process whether to recommend a patient for medications, catheterization, angioplasty, or heart surgery. In other words, it is the most important procedure which will give direction to all critical decision-making processes in management of patients.
Decreased blood flow to the heart during the test can be detected on the images as a myocardial perfusion defect. Myocardial perfusion scans can localize the obstructed coronary artery demonstrating the extent of heart muscle involved and provide information about the heart’s pumping functions. It also identifies the area of heart muscle that is normal, weak, in impending danger also called jeopardized myocardium or scarred.
- Diet- Nothing to eat 3 hours prior to the test. Drink enough water.
- Clothing- Wear two-piece, loose fitting clothing and rubber-soled running shoes that are comfortable for exercising.
- Do not use- Bath oil, lotion, or powder on morning of test, deodorant-may use deodorant.
- Medications- Take your medications the day of your test, unless otherwise instructed by a physician.
Normal nuclear stress done by qualified person means chances of having heart trouble is the same as a normal person irrespective of your complaint i.e less than 1%.
This report will provide information if your heart disease can be managed by medications or need angioplasty/stent or heart surgery.
If you already have heart surgery, angioplasty or stent this test will provide the information how well they are functioning and whether you need to adjust heart medications or supplemental Stents.
Heart should be checked with a nuclear stress test every two years after angioplasty/stent placement and five year after by-pass surgery and then annually as per guidelines by American College of Cardiology to assess natural progression of disease with age.