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Nuclear Heart Scan

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Nuclear Heart Scan

A nuclear heart scan, sometimes known as a nuclear stress test, uses a special camera and a small amount of radioactive material to create clear pictures of your heart. Nuclear imaging can detect damaged heart muscle tissue, and assesses how well your blood flows around the heart and pumps into your body. 

Before the Appointment:

Be sure to mention the medications you take and ask if it’s okay to take them before your test.

Let the technologist know if you:

  • Are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Have had a nuclear medicine scan before
  • Have had a recent barium study or an x-ray using contrast
  • Have any fractures or artificial joints
  • Have any allergies

During the Appointment:

You will be given a tracer (radioactive material). It may be injected, swallowed, or inhaled. Your scan may then be done right away, or you may need to wait a few hours or even days to allow the tracer to concentrate in the part of the body being studied.

Your scan may take a few hours. Bring something you can do if you need to wait.

During the Scan:

You will lie on a narrow imaging table. A large camera is placed close to your body. Remain as still as you can while the camera takes the pictures. This will ensure the best images. The table or camera may be adjusted to take more pictures.

After the Scan:

Drink plenty of water to help clear the tracer from your body. Your doctor will discuss the test results with you during a follow-up visit or over the phone.