Stress tests play an important role in diagnosing and managing cardiovascular diseases, allowing your doctor to evaluate the heart’s structures and to see how well it’s functioning. In fact, stress tests typically are used as a regular part of heart care for many types of ailments, enabling your doctor to tailor your care based on how your heart responds to treatment.
What many people don’t know, though, is that there are different types of stress tests, including nuclear stress tests. At TLC Medical Group Inc, Anthony B. Lewis MD, FACC, and his team prescribe nuclear stress tests for patients in Port St. Lucie, Florida, who have specific types of heart-related issues.
If you’re experiencing heart problems, here’s when we might prescribe a nuclear stress test and how it can help us keep you healthy.
When nuclear stress tests are recommended
Stress test assesses how well your heart (and the vessels surrounding it) respond to physical activity. Our team recommends cardiac stress tests for several reasons:
- To diagnose the cause of cardiovascular symptoms
- To assess cardiovascular disease
- To manage and adjust current treatment
- To assess the effectiveness of a treatment or procedure
Most people who have diagnosed cardiovascular issues have stress tests on a regular basis as part of their treatment plan.
Stress tests typically use physical activity, like walking on a treadmill or using a stationary bike. Your heart activity is evaluated prior to activity and then afterward, allowing your doctor to make comparisons. If you’re not healthy enough for activity, your doctor can inject a medication to temporarily “speed up” your heart, mimicking the cardiovascular effects of exercise.
Stress tests are performed in our office on an outpatient basis. Prior to your test, we’ll give you some instructions to follow, including how to dress and whether or not you should delay taking medications until after your test is complete.
Nuclear stress tests: The basics
Nuclear stress tests are a type of stress test that uses radioactive dye as part of the testing process. The dye is injected into your blood vessels, making it easier for your doctor to visualize your vessels and your blood flow.
The radioactive dye contains tiny particles called radiotracers. These particles emit tiny signals that are detected by the nuclear imaging device used during your test. As with an ultrasound test, the nuclear imaging device captures these signals and “translates” them into detailed live images of your heart and blood vessels.
Like other stress tests, nuclear stress tests are often prescribed after a heart attack or other cardiac event to assess damage to your heart, or to look for valve-related problems. They’re also used to evaluate your arteries for signs of blockage and to manage current treatment. Typically, our team orders these tests when they want in-depth detailed images of your heart and the structure surrounding it.
The nuclear particles are completely safe, emitting only a very tiny amount of energy used to create those detailed images used in diagnosis and treatment management. Afterward, your body eliminates the particles over the course of a few days.
Cardiac care tailored to your needs
If you’re having any type of heart-related symptoms, calling the office is the first step in getting the right type of testing and the most appropriate care. To learn more about nuclear stress testing or to schedule a cardiac evaluation, call 772-200-3840 or book an appointment online with the team at TLC Medical Group today.