Cardiac Nuclear Testing
Cardiac nuclear testing is a way of checking blood flow through the heart muscle. This is done by using radioactive material that is taken up by the walls of the heart muscle. As the heart muscle takes up the materials, a special camera follows the flow of the material through the heart muscle. Pictures will be taken during the resting and exercise period. If you are unable to exercise you may be given medications in order to simulate exercise. The nurse will begin by starting an IV which will be used to administer medications. Once the medication is given, you will be asked to wait 45 minutes until it takes effect. At this time, a technician will ask you to lie down on an examination table while a series of pictures are taken which should take about 15 minutes. The technician will then take you to the stress portion of the exam. This will takes about 15 minutes. Once this stage is completed, you will be asked to return for the last stage of the exam.
A Holter and Event Monitoring
A Holter and Event monitor are effective ways to record the electrical activities of your heart while carrying on with normal activities. It is like having a mini electrocardiogram (ECG) machine with you. The Holter records your hearbeat for at least 24 hours. The event monitor records any irregular "events" or heartbeats. To record the irregularity you simply press a button and write down the activities you were performing during the irregularity. You may be asked to wear the event monitor for a couple of days or weeks. The information extracted from this device is then analyzed by your physician.
An echocardiogram (echo) is an imaging test that uses high frequency sound waves. These sound waves show the size of your heart muscle. It can also be used to determine how well the heart muscle and valves are working. A transducer transmits and receives sound waves which bounce off the structures of the heart. The sound waves are then used to construct an image. This data is then stored and displayed by a computer. The images are then used by the physicians in order to evaluate the heart’s condition.
Exercise Stress Test
An exercise stress test records your heart rhythm while you walk on a treadmill or ride a stationary bike. The test measures your heart’s reaction to stress. The test will be performed until chest pain is provoked, irregularities in the ECG or maximum exercise range is reached.
The procedure involves lying on a table. You will be given a sedative, but kept awake. The area where the catheter will be inserted will require a local anesthetic. Once inserted, a catheter will be threaded up into the heart. It will then be positioned and a special dye will be injected. You may feel nauseated, warm or need to urinate. This feeling should pass within a few seconds. As the dye goes through the coronary arteries, a special camera will record its path. You may be asked to hold your breath or cough. After reviewing the procedure your cardiologist will make a decision the best course of action. Once the procedure is complete the catheter will be removed and you will be monitored. You will be asked to avoid any movement. Sandbags may be applied to help keep pressure. You will be moved to another room. Your physician will then visit to discuss your results.