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Massachusetts General Hospital Imaging provides cardiac stress tests with imaging on the Mass General main campus. Our staff places priority on making your journey through the imaging process comfortable, safe, and successful. All images are read by a radiologist with specialty expertise in the area of the body being studied.
Cardiac stress test overview:
Cardiac stress test in depth
What is a cardiac stress test with imaging?
A stress test with imaging, also called a myocardial perfusion scan, uses images to show blood flow to the heart muscle. The test uses a radioactive substance, which mixes with the blood and enters into the cells of the heart muscle. If the substance does not reach the heart, it means the arteries may be blocked or there may be damage to the heart.
A stress test with imaging is usually performed in conjunction with an exercise stress test, using either conventional exercise on a treadmill or using a medication such as a pharmacologic stress agent, which increases the blood flow like exercise.
Physicians use a stress test with imaging to:
Prior to the test a physician or nurse will assess you to make sure it is safe for you to undergo this exam and answer any questions you may have. If you have coronary artery disease, it is possible that you could experience chest pain during the exercising or drug administered portion of the test. However, your heart will be monitored and if necessary, medication can be given for your chest pain.
Because the doses of radiotracer administered are small, these procedures result in minimal radiation exposure. Thus, the radiation risk is very low compared with the potential benefits. Allergic reactions to radiopharmaceuticals may occur but are extremely rare.
Women should always inform their physician or nuclear technologist if there is any possibility that they are pregnant or if they are breastfeeding their baby.
What should I expect BEFORE my stress test?
What will I experience DURING my stress test?
What should I expect AFTER my stress test?
Each radiologist at Mass General Imaging is a specialist in a particular area of the body. Department of Radiology Chairman Emeritus James H. Thrall, MD, explains how patients benefit from the additional specialty training our physicians have completed.
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