Nuclear Stress Test

Preparing for the Test

For 24 hours prior to the test, do not drink any products that may contain caffeine, including coffee (even decaffeinated coffee), all tea (including herbal and iced varieties), soft drinks or chocolate. We encourage you to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.

  • Wear loose, comfortable clothing that you can exercise in. Please do not wear clothing with metal components such as zippers, snaps or embellishments on the chest.
  • Wear comfortable walking or running shoes.
  • Do not eat for 4 hours prior to your test time. Diabetics may have a snack up to 2 hours prior to test time. Continue to drink water during this fasting time.
  • Please bring a snack such as a half a sandwich, Ensure or granola bar. You will be asked to eat during your appointment. Food in your stomach allows for better images of the back of your heart.
  • The radioactive tracer used during the test will remain in your body for 24 hours. During this time, we advise limiting contact with pregnant women, young children and anyone else vulnerable to radiation exposure.
  • Consult your doctor to see if any of your medications should be withheld prior to the test.

What to expect during the test

An electrocardiogram is usually taken upon arrival. An IV (intravenous catheter) is then placed in an arm. If an exercise test is planned, you will then walk upon a treadmill to achieve a certain heart rate. If medications are used (pharmacological stress test), the medication will be administered intravenously. The tracer will then be given by IV. The patient will then lie on his or her back (supine) on a padded table while the camera moves to different angles to capture the images. Often times, if the patient is able, he or she will also lie on his or her stomach (prone) while images are captured.