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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:
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:
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.
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.
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 TimeDo not have any food or drinks that have caffeine such as chocolate, coffee, tea or soft drinks
3 Hours Before Your Test TimeDo not eat or drink anything. Only sip water with medicines that your doctor says are okay to take.
Patient Information Handouts
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.
Every stress test is jointly read by a specially trained radiologist from Mass General Imaging and a cardiologist from the Corrigan Minehan Heart Center.
Accepting New Patients
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.
Nuclear CardiologyYawkey Center for Outpatient Care32 Fruit Street, Suite 5EBoston, MA 02114Phone: 617-643-1552Fax: 617-643-1637
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