Why it's doneBy Mayo Clinic staff
Your doctor may recommend a nuclear stress test to:
- Diagnose coronary artery disease. Your coronary arteries are the major blood vessels that supply your heart with blood, oxygen and nutrients. Coronary artery disease is a condition that develops when these arteries become damaged or diseased — usually due to a buildup of deposits called plaques. If you have symptoms such as shortness of breath or chest pains, a nuclear stress test can help determine if they are related to coronary artery disease.
- Look at the size and shape of your heart. The images from a nuclear stress test can show your doctor if your heart is enlarged and can measure the pumping function (ejection fraction) of your heart.
- Guide treatment of heart disorders. If you've already been diagnosed with coronary artery disease, arrhythmia or another heart condition, a nuclear stress test can help your doctor find out how well treatment is working to relieve your symptoms. It may also be used to help establish the right treatment plan for you by determining how much exercise your heart can handle.
- Toth PP, et al. Cardiovascular disease. In: Rakel RE. Textbook of Family Medicine. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2011. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/page.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-1-4377-1160-8..10047-8--s0095&isbn=978-1-4377-1160-8&sid=1213849808&uniqId=285136248-6#4-u1.0-B978-1-4377-1160-8..10047-8--s0095. Accessed Nov. 1, 2011.
- Weiner DA. Advantages and limitations of different stress testing modalities. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Nov. 1, 2011.
- Stress testing. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/stress/stress_whatis.html. Accessed Nov. 1, 2011.
- Nuclear heart scan. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/nscan/nscan_all.html. Accessed Nov. 1, 2011.
- Yanowitz FG. Performance of exercise ECG testing. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Nov. 1, 2011.
- Papaioannou GI, et al. Exercise radionuclide myocardial perfusion imaging in the diagnosis and prognosis of coronary heart disease. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Nov. 1, 2011.
- Grogan M (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Nov. 8, 2011.