Re: Nuclear Stress Test vs. Heart Scan
Hey, I'm a Nuclear Medicine Technologist, and I actually perform these tests. I can go a little more in depth as to what a Nuclear stress test is.
Basically what's done is that the patient is injected with 2 doses of a radioactive tracer in order to image the heart and determine how the heart is functioning. The reason there's 2 doses is because the test itself is in 2 parts, a rest and a stress. The stress portion of the test is performed while the patient's heart rate is a little above normal, and this is either done by having the patient walk on a treadmill or using a pharmacological agent to simulate it in various ways. (usually around 85% of the patient's max heart rate is acceptable) The entire test is done to get an accurate representation of how the blood is perfusing the heart muscle, but we get far more out of it than just that. We can find out how much blood the heart is kicking out with each beat, how the blood is working through the heart itself, cross section views of how the heart walls are moving, and an EKG to determine how the electrical components of the heart are working. These are all then processed and sent off to a Radiologist to read and send his results back to your doctor.
Sorry for the essay, and I realize I'm a little bit late in posting this, but I hope this helps anybody else looking for information before they undergo this test.