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Nuclear cardiology and stress testing at the Massachusetts General Hospital Heart Center is a joint effort between the cardiology and radiology departments and provides various types of heart stress tests that help to identify and diagnose heart disease. Cardiologists use the cardiac stress test for different reasons depending on a patient’s condition. Our team may recommend a cardiac stress test to:
Nuclear cardiology nurses are carefully trained to conduct stress testing as well as respond to any issues surrounding the test. Cardiac nurses perform a focused interview with the patient as well as assess the appropriateness of the stress test. In addition, nurses provide a thorough explanation of the test to be performed and answer any patient questions.
During the study, nurses carefully monitor the patient’s responses to the test, including blood pressure, heart rate and the electrocardiogram. After the test, cardiac nurses document the study findings, and the study is finalized by a cardiologist who specializes in stress testing.
An imaging stress test, also called a nuclear or Sestimibi stress test, is similar to the exercise stress test but provides more information by using images to show the 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.
The radioactive substance is injected two times - first at rest and a second time when you are at peak exercise. It is usually performed in conjunction with an exercise stress test, using either conventional exercise on a treadmill or using a medication, such as adenosine or dobutamine, which increases the heart rate like exercise.
As soon as the test is over, you may eat and return to your normal routine. Ask your doctor about taking any medicine that you were told to skip before the test.
Corrigan Minehan Heart Center
If you are a new patient, you may call the Corrigan Minehan Heart Center outpatient access office at 866-644-8910, or complete our online appointment form to request an appointment. A member of our access team will ask you more about your condition and symptoms, and match you with the best-fitting Corrigan Minehan Heart Center physician.
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