Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A Question

Have any of you ever had to have a nuclear stress test? I have one scheduled for tomorrow morning, as a follow-up from this weekend's experience. I've been reading about them a little, and am not really looking forward to it (and today's no-caffeine rule in preparation isn't all that great, either--IJS).

If anybody has ever had one and would be willing to talk about it, please leave me a comment, or you can email me at the address under "Contact Me."

Thanks! :)


KatieButler said...

I haven't, but just wanted to say that I hope everything goes smoothly tomorrow and that the test isn't too unpleasant.

Anonymous said...

Red, cardiologists have several different ways to the study blood flow patterns (and underlying functionality of the heart and the other blood vessels that ensure adequate oxygenated blood supply to the body) for a body in a 'stressed' state, as compared to a state at rest for 'real time' echocardiographic imaging. (Echocardiography refers to watching the blood pumping out of the heart, I think.)

In order to properly evaluate any blockages or narrowed passageways in blood vessels especially in the heart itself, (or whatever is causing the high blood pressure and chest pain--usually pain is due to lack of oxygen to the heart), the heart is placed under stress by physical exercise or use of chemicals i.e. drugs such as dipyridamole or dobutamine. A typical 'endpoint' in these tests is attainment of 85% of the maximum predicted heart rate, exhibition of new heart wall motion abnormalities, and other twitchiness, etc..

I imagine any number of tests are not all that pleasant, but not painful and one has to think of it as running after a small child or attempting to catch the last bus home.

I did not have the nuclear stress test that involves a 'tracer' of sorts, but had the one involving electrodes attached outside to areas of chest and heart, and hooked up to an ECG monitor while jogging on a treadmill to 'induce' a stressed state.

For various contingencies e.g. broken leg, there's a stress test that involves injection of a set dose of dipyridamole (which among other effects is that it acts like caffeine which is why coffee is restricted for a certain length of time before the test), to induce a predictable 'stressor' along with use of thallium as a 'tracer' in the bloodstream, radioactive isotope that can be imaged on various types of scans.

I don't think that the nuclear stress test would be painful, but if I were anxious about it, I would say to myself (to convince my psyche) that this procedure is one of the most accurate ways a cardiologist has to actually visualize the innerworkings of the cardiovascular system.

The Mayo Clinic website and possibly the government websites e.g. FDA, or NIH, etc. might be additional references.

Zircon (Disclaimer: not an expert in stress tests)

opey124 said...

I had one. It wasn't that big of a deal other than it is a little disturbing when they bring in "the box". Because it has nuclear "stuff" in it, it is a different syringe too.
Then I had to lay on a COLD table and lay real still. The images appeared on a computer screen.

It really wasn't uncomfortable or anything like that. I hated the tred mill more. Starving half to death!

Will pray for you. I didn't have any problems. BUT we did make sure we did not conceive afterwards because I didn't like the idea of nuclear stuff in my body and what it would do to the baby.

Maria said...

My younger brother who lives with me is actually a nuclear medicine technologist and his current job is doing nuclear stress tests. I just ran downstairs and asked him what you should expect.

He said the test is not painful or very uncomfortable at all. Normally it taks 1.5 to 4 hours.

This is the most likely scenerio. First, you'll have an IV put in (probably the most painful part of the day) and they'll give you an injection. You'll wait awhile, then lie on a table, and have a picture taken. Next you'll be asked to do a fast walk to light jog on a treadmill. Then another picture is taken. That's about it.

If you have any questions at all, email me at . I hope it goes well tomorrow!

opey124 said...

Oh yeah, be prepared for the nuclear jokes. I wasn't....such as the funny tech checking to see if you are glowing enough yet! They must all go to the same school because they joked the same way with my MIL too. Except...yours would be a red glow...just kidding.

It will be ok. And we will be praying for you

Red Cardigan said...

Thanks, all! I appreciate all the information! :)

freddy said...

Just wanted to let you know that you're in our prayers today!

Wendy in VA said...

Just saw this -- saying a prayer for you right now, Erin!

MommaLlama said...

I hope all went well, and you are no worse for the wear!

KC said...

I've been thinking about you. Hope the doctors find out what's going on. Praying for you.