About Your Cardiac Stress Test

Very Important Points

Do not smoke OR drink any caffeine (coffee, tea, decaf, chocolate, soda) for 24 hours before the test. For morning appointments, have nothing to eat or drink after midnight. For morning appointments, please do not take your diabetic medication. Sips of water are okay. For afternoon appointments, you may have a light breakfast before 7:30 a.m. and you may take your diabetic medication.

Let us know immediately if there is any chance you might be pregnant or if you are breast-feeding.

The complete testing procedure takes approximately 3 hours from start to finish.

How should I prepare for the test?

You will be asked to fast (have nothing to eat or drink) after midnight the night before the test. For afternoon appointments you MAY have a light breakfast before 7:30 a.m. Do not smoke or have any caffeine (coffee, tea, decaf, chocolate, tea, soda) 24 hours before the test. Sips of water are okay.

You may take your morning medications with water only. If you are diabetic and you have a morning appointment, DO NOT take your insulin or oral diabetic medication. Please bring all your medications with you when you come for the test.

Please do not bring any valuables (i.e. expensive jewelry) with you. It may be necessary to remove it for the test.

Please wear comfortable shoes and since you will be changing into a gown from the waist up, please wear a 2-piece outfit. No dresses or overalls, please.

It is very important that you lie as still as possible during the pictures. If you have a problem raising your arms or laying on your back, please let us know before the test begins.

If you are breast-feeding a child or there is ANY chance you might be pregnant, please let us know before the test begins!

If you suffer from claustrophobia, please let us know right away.

Other Information About Your Cardiac Stress Test

This test was ordered by your doctor so he or she could check the blood supply to your heart muscle and make sure your hearts arteries (or any bypasses or stents that you have had) are open and allowing good blood flow to your heart muscle.

The test consists of an exercise test and two sets of pictures of your heart.

The exercise test can be done by walking on a treadmill or administering a medication to mimic the effects of exercise on the heart.

The pictures will be taken before the exercise test and after the exercise test. The two sets of pictures will be compared by the doctor to determine if there are any problems with the blood supply to your heart muscle.

What will happen during the test?

You will be asked to change from the waist up into a gown so the electrodes can be placed on your chest to monitor your heart during the exercise test and during the imaging.

You will have an IV placed in your arm so we can inject the tracer for the pictures and any medication you may require for the test.

After the IV is in place, you will receive the first injection of the tracer so we can take the first set of pictures. The tracer is a very small amount of radioactive material. You will not feel any effect from it.

After the first injection, you will be escorted to Nuclear Medicine for the pictures. You will lie on your back with your arms over your head while the camera takes about 20 minutes of pictures of your heart from all angles. The camera will not affect pacemakers or any metal jewelry you may be wearing. You will be hooked up to an EKG machine for the second set of pictures so that we may get a motion picture of your heart. This is a normal part of the test and should cause you no concern.

After the first set of pictures, you will have the exercise test. You will receive a second injection of the tracer during the exercise test.

After the second injection, you will return to Nuclear Medicine for the second set of pictures. Your IV will be removed after the second set of pictures and the test is finished.

You may resume your normal diet and activity following the second set of pictures. The test results will generally be available to your doctor within 3-5 working days. Please tell us if you have an appointment before then.

Please feel free to call the Cardiologist if you have any questions. Thank you.