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A diagnostic test used to evaluate blood flow to the heart.


WHAT TO EXPECT: This test involves walking on a treadmill at increasing levels of speed and incline, while your electrocardiogram, heart rate and blood pressure are monitored. For most patients, this test would be described as a “brisk walk up a hill.”  There are several variations of this test and the type is determined by your cardiologist and depends upon the questions that revolve around your heart.  During the test a small amount of radioactive tracer may be injected into a vein. A special camera, gamma camera, detects the radiation released by the tracer to produce computer images of the heart. If physically able it is preferred that a patient walks on a treadmill; however if unable to physically perform the test, a drug can be given to stimulate exercise. Before and after images are taken for comparison to determine if there is a lack of blood flow to certain areas of the heart.

The test takes 4 to 5 hours to complete and patients are asked to not have any food 4 hours prior to test and no caffeine 12 hours prior. Patients are advised to wear comfortable clothing. Half way through the test patients will be given an option to take a break and go get something to eat.

Instructions for Nuclear Stress Test: 

  • 12 hours prior to the test - NO CAFFEINE. No coffee, tea, or chocolate. This includes decaf, which contains trace amounts of caffeine.  Only water is allowed.


  • 3 hours prior to the test - NO FOOD or DRINK- except water. You may drink water until the time of the test.


  • You may take all of your medications. However, if this falls within the 3-hour fasting time frame just prior to your test – take only those medications that DO NOT require food.

  • Please come dressed to walk – Even if you are not scheduled for the treadmill. WEAR WALKING SHOES and comfortable clothing. Please do not wear heels, flip flops, or an open back shoe. Please wear a separate top and bottom (ie: pants/shirt, skirt/blouse).

  • Plan to be in the office for about 4 - 4.5 hours. There are waiting periods involved during your test. Bring a book or tablet, and sweater if you’d like.


  • About half way through the test there is a break where you will be allowed to eat. We offer complimentary crackers, Coke products and juice. If you have food allergies or want something specific feel free to bring something with you; or you may leave for an hour to grab a bite to eat.

  • Someone will give you a reminder call the day before your test. If your appointment is on Monday you will receive a call on Thursday. If you have any questions, write them down and ask at that time.


  • Due to COVID-19, we ask that you not bring any guests at this time. We can only allow patients that are having a test to be in the testing rooms and nuclear waiting area. Thank you for your understanding.


  • There is a $100.00 charge for not providing a 24-hour cancellation notice.

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