A small quantity of a radioactive substance (tracer) is injected into an intravenous catheter (IV) to allow measurement of relative blood flow to the heart muscle. The amount of tracer present in the heart is imaged by a special camera, before and after exercise to determine if there is evidence of a coronary blockage.
For an adenosine stress test, your blood pressure, pulse, heart rhythm, and symptoms such as chest pain are then monitored continuously while you are given a short infusion of Adenosine, a drug used to simulate the effects of exercise on your heart. If you are able, you will be asked to walk slowly on a non-inclined treadmill as you are given Adenosine. The test usually takes about 3 hours to complete, and results will be given to your doctor within 24 hours.
If you are having a nuclear stress test instead, your blood pressure, pulse, heart rhythm, and symptoms such as chest pain are monitored continuously while you exercise on a treadmill for approximately 6-10 minutes. The test usually takes about 3 hours to complete, and results will be given to your doctor within 24 hours.
The cardiac sonographer will meet you and briefly review the reasons for which the test is being performed. You will be asked to undress above the waist and be provided a gown for your comfort and privacy. The echocardiogram is performed on a padded table while you are lying flat or often on your left side. Pleas notify the sonographer if you have any condition in which lying down for the test will be uncomfortable. Three electrodes will be attached by small patches to your chest to monitor your heart rhythm during the test.
The sonographer will place a small amount of warm gel on your chest and obtain images of your beating heart with a hand-held probe called a transducer. Different locations on your chest and upper abdomen are used to obtain all of the necessary images. The test usually takes about 30 minutes. You will receive the results of your echocardiogram within 1-2 days.