Stress Testing & Nuclear Cardiology

Exercise EKG (Exercise Stress Test)

An Exercise EKG (treadmill stress test) is performed to assess the heart’s response to stress or exercise.   The EKG is monitored by a specialized technician while a person is exercising on a treadmill. 

Small plastic patches (electrodes) are placed at certain locations on the chest wall, arms, and legs.  The electrical activity of the heart is evaluated as increasing stress on the heart is applied by increasing the speed and incline of the treadmill.  The person will exercise until reaching a target heart rate or until symptoms develop that warrant stopping the test.  

Nuclear Stress Test

A myocardial perfusion scan with exercise or pharmacologic  intervention is used to determine what areas of the heart muscle have decreased blood flow during stress.

In this procedure,  a radionuclide is injected during the stress portion of the study to evaluate the heart’s function and blood flow.  A radionuclide is a radioactive substance used as a “ tracer” and travels through the blood stream and is absorbed by the heart muscle tissue.  A special x-ray machine called a gamma camera takes pictures of the heart while the person lies still on the table.