Nuclear Stress Test

Cardiology & Invasive Cardiologist located in Houston, TX
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Nuclear Stress Test services offered in Houston, TX

Heart disease is a leading cause of death in the United States. A nuclear stress test can identify problems with your heart before you make that list. Humayun Naqvi, MD, MBA of West Houston Heart Center in Houston, Texas, uses this advanced study to design personalized treatment strategies that prevent worsening disease. His patients greatly appreciate his commonsense approach to meeting and overcoming the life-altering challenges of heart disease. Schedule a visit today by calling the office or requesting an appointment online.

Nuclear Stress Test Q & A

Why would I need a nuclear stress test?

A nuclear stress test can identify details of your heart function that aren’t visible in other diagnostic studies. For instance, you may benefit from a nuclear stress test if a recent electrocardiogram (EKG) shows an abnormal heart rhythm or another concerning change.

Dr. Naqvi may also recommend the test to determine whether the shortness of breath, fatigue, dizziness, weakness, or chest pain you’re experiencing is related to problems with your heart. A nuclear stress test is also an effective monitoring tool for people previously diagnosed with heart failure, coronary artery disease (CAD), or heart attack.

How is a nuclear stress test different from other stress tests?

Like other cardiac stress studies, a nuclear stress test measures your heart function during exercise. However, the nuclear version uses advanced technology (single-photon emission computed tomography or SPECT) to record detailed images of your heart in action before and after the workout.

This feature provides details not available on other stress tests, including valvular function, blood flow through arteries and heart chambers, and how well your heart muscle pumps. These specifics provide the information Dr. Naqvi requires to develop care strategies that effectively treat or prevent heart disease.

What happens during a nuclear stress test?

Dr. Naqvi discusses what to expect and how to prepare for a nuclear stress test before scheduling the procedure. However, the test is generally an outpatient study that may take a couple of hours to complete.

First, a nurse or technician injects a small amount of radioactive tracer into your arm via an IV. As you lie comfortably on an exam table, the SPECT scanner captures 3D images of your heart at rest. Once you’ve completed the exercise portion of the test, usually via a treadmill or stationary bike, you return to the imaging room for another 3D scan of your heart.

If you’re unable to exercise, you may receive medication that increases blood flow to your heart, mimicking the effects of physical activity. Dr. Naqvi then reviews the study results and develops a treatment strategy to prevent worsening heart disease and its impact on your overall quality of life.

Schedule an evaluation at West Houston Heart Center today for cardiac care you can trust. Call the office or request an appointment using their secure online service.