Nuclear Cardiology

Nuclear Cardiology at Massachusetts General Hospital offers stress testing to identify and diagnose heart disease. It is a joint service provided by Mass General Imaging and the Corrigan Minehan Heart Center.
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Overview

A joint service of Mass General Imaging and the Corrigan Minehan Heart Center, Nuclear Cardiology at Massachusetts General Hospital provides various types of stress testing to diagnose heart disorders and disease:

  • Stress test with exercise and images
  • Stress test with medicine (for patients who cannot exercise on a treadmill) and images
  • Stress test with exercise (no images)

A stress test with images uses a radioactive tracer that enters the heart to show blocked arteries or other damage. It allows us to take pictures of the heart while the patient is at rest and after the patient's heart rate has increased.

Stress testing in typically used to:

  • Evaluate the cause of chest pain
  • Measure the strength of the heart after a heart attack or surgery
  • Determine how well a patient’s heart can tolerate exercise and activity
  • Establish a baseline for patients who have risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol or a family history of coronary artery disease 

Specialized Radiologists

In Nuclear Cardiology, every stress test is jointly read by a radiologist and a cardiologist who are specially trained in nuclear medicine, a field of medical imaging that uses small amounts of radioactive material to diagnose a wide range of disease.

Read about the Division of Nuclear Cardiology.

Coordinated Care

Nuclear Cardiology gives patients access to the expertise of dedicated radiologists as well as cardiologists from the Corrigan Minehan Heart Center. We work in close consultation with your doctor to schedule and plan your exam. A written report and images are typically available to your doctor within 48 to 72 hours. 

Emphasis on Safety

We pay special attention to minimizing radiation exposure while getting the highest quality images. Because the doses of radiotracer are very small, nuclear cardiology tests result in minimal radiation exposure. The radiation risk is very low compared with the potential benefits. Allergic reactions to radiopharmaceuticals may occur but are extremely rare. 

Patient Education

A stress test with imaging helps you and your doctor learn more about how your heart is working. It takes about two to three hours. Please arrive 30 minutes before your scheduled appointment time.

Use our patient information handouts to prepare for your test. They explain what to expect before, during and after your appointment. We recommend that you wear walking shoes and a comfortable two-piece outfit.

12 Hours Before Your Test Time
Do not have any food or drinks that have caffeine such as chocolate, coffee, tea or soft drinks

3 Hours Before Your Test Time
Do not eat or drink anything. Only sip water with medicines that your doctor says are okay to take. 

Before Your Stress Test with Imaging

Do not have food or drinks that have caffeine, such as chocolate, coffee, tea or soft drinks for 12 hours before your test. Do not eat or drink anything for three hours before your test. Only sip water with medicines that your doctor says are okay to take.

Before your test, our team will make sure it is safe for you to undergo this exam and answer any questions you may have.

Check with your doctor about how to take your medicines before the test. You may need to take a medicine later than you normally do.

If you have diabetes, check with your doctor to see if you should take your diabetic medicines or change your daily insulin dose.

During Your Stress Test with Imaging

During the test, we will give you a radioactive tracer through an IV. We will inject the tracer and take images two times: first while you are at rest and a second time while you are exercising on a treadmill or after you take medicine to speed up your heart rate.

After Your Stress Test with Imaging

After your test, you can go back to your regular diet, medications and other activities. Once the scan has been read by a radiologist and a cardiologist, your doctor will receive the results of your test and share them with you.

Physicians

 Every stress test is jointly read by a specially trained radiologist from Mass General Imaging and a cardiologist from the Corrigan Minehan Heart Center.

  • Abraham, Stephen Aram, MD

    617-726-2284

    Accepting New Patients

    Clinical Interests
    • Clinical cardiology
    • Preoperative Cardiac Risk Stratifcation for Non-Cardiac Surg
    • Nuclear cardiology
    • Evaluation of coronary artery disease
    • Assessment of myocardial viability
    Board Certifications
    • Cardiovascular Disease, American Board of Internal Medicine
    • Nuclear Medicine, American Board of Nuclear Medicine
    • Internal Medicine, American Board of Internal Medicine
    Locations
    • Boston: Cardiac Unit Associates
  • Chow, David Z., MD

    Clinical Interests
    • Nuclear medicine
    • Nuclear cardiology
    Board Certifications
    • Diagnostic Radiology, American Board of Radiology
    • Nuclear Radiology, American Board of Radiology
    Locations
    • Boston: Radiological Associates
  • Connolly, Leonard P., MD

    Clinical Interests
    • Pediatric Nuclear Medicine
    Board Certifications
    • Nuclear Medicine, American Board of Nuclear Medicine
    • Diagnostic Radiology, American Board of Radiology
    • Nuclear Radiology, American Board of Radiology
    Locations
    • Boston: Radiological Associates
  • Heidari, Pedram, MD

    617-643-3708

    Accepting New Patients

    Clinical Interests
    • Molecular imaging
    • PET Scanning
    • Nuclear medicine
    • Oncologic imaging
    Locations
    • Boston: Radiological Associates
  • Osborne, Michael T., MD

    617-724-6750

    Accepting New Patients

    Clinical Interests
    • PET / CT
    • Nuclear cardiology
    • Coronary artery disease
    • Preventive cardiology
    Board Certifications
    • Internal Medicine, American Board of Internal Medicine
    • Cardiovascular Disease, American Board of Internal Medicine
    Locations
    • Boston: Cardiac Unit Associates
  • Palmer, Edwin Lincoln, MD

    Clinical Interests
    • Nuclear medicine
    Board Certifications
    • Nuclear Medicine, American Board of Nuclear Medicine
    • Diagnostic Radiology, American Board of Radiology
    • Nuclear Radiology, American Board of Radiology
    Locations
    • Boston: Radiological Associates
  • Scott, James Arthur, MD

    Clinical Interests
    • Artificial intelligence
    • Biosemiotics
    Board Certifications
    • Nuclear Medicine, American Board of Nuclear Medicine
    • Diagnostic Radiology, American Board of Radiology
    Locations
    • Boston: Radiological Associates
  • Spooner, Amy E., MD

    617-643-0189

    Accepting New Patients

    Clinical Interests
    • Aortic aneurysm
    • Aortic dissection
    • Aortic disease
    • Bicuspid Aortic Valve with Aneurysm Syndrome (BAV/AscAA)
    • Aortic valve disease
    Board Certifications
    • Cardiovascular Disease, American Board of Internal Medicine
    Locations
    • Boston: Cardiac Unit Associates
  • Tawakol, Ahmed A., MD

    617-724-3600

    Accepting New Patients

    Clinical Interests
    • Clinical cardiology
    • Nuclear cardiology
    • Non-invasive cardiovascular imaging
    Board Certifications
    • Cardiovascular Disease, American Board of Internal Medicine
    Locations
    • Boston: Cardiac Unit Associates
  • Wang, Yingbing, MD

    Board Certifications
    • Diagnostic Radiology, American Board of Radiology
    • Nuclear Medicine, American Board of Nuclear Medicine
    • Nuclear Radiology, American Board of Radiology
    Locations
    • Boston: Radiological Associates
  • Yasuda, Tsunehiro, MD

    Clinical Interests
    • Myopathy
    • Vascular biology
    • Myocarditis
    • Nuclear cardiology
    • Coronary artery disease
    Board Certifications
    • Nuclear Medicine, American Board of Nuclear Medicine
    Locations
    • Boston: Radiological Associates
  • Zervos, Gerasimos D., MD

    781-487-6000

    Accepting New Patients

    Board Certifications
    • Cardiovascular Disease, American Board of Internal Medicine
    Locations
    • Waltham: MGH Waltham Heart Center

Tests

  • Exercise Stress Test

    An exercise stress test is also called a stress electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) or a treadmill test. The goal of the stress test is to raise a person's heart rate to determine if blood flow is reduced in the arteries that supply blood to the heart.
  • Stress Test With Imaging

    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.

Contact

Nuclear Cardiology
Yawkey Center for Outpatient Care
32 Fruit Street, Suite 5E
Boston, MA 02114

Phone: 617-643-1552
Fax: 617-643-1637

Request an Appointment

Call to schedule an appointment 617-724-9729

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