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Pharmacologic with Radiopharmacologic Stress Testing


Pharmacologic with radiopharmacologic stress testing is also called a nuclear stress test. It uses medicine to stress your heart and make it work just as it does when you exercise. A radioactive liquid is also used to help compare blood flow to your heart at rest and during stress.


Before your test:

  • Informed consent is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.
  • Vital signs: Caregivers will check your blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing rate.
  • An IV is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.

During your test:

  • Electrodes (sticky patches) are placed on your chest. The electrodes are attached to wires that transmit the electrical activity of your heart to the electrocardiogram (ECG) monitor. A tracing of the heart while you are rest is recorded before the actual stress test. The radioactive liquid is given through the IV to help caregivers see the pictures better. Tell the caregiver if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast liquid.
  • Pictures of your heart at rest are taken with a x-ray machine. Medicine to place the heart under stress is given through the IV. ECG tracings, and your heart rate and rhythm are also checked. A second dose of the liquid is injected, and more pictures of the heart are taken during and after the liquid have been given. The images of your heart while resting and while under stress are compared. CT scans or MRI may also be done during this test. Do not enter the MRI room with anything metal. Metal can cause serious injury. Tell the caregiver if you have any metal in or on your body.

After your test:

  • Heart monitor: This is also called an ECG or EKG. Sticky pads placed on your skin record your heart's electrical activity.


You may have an allergic reaction to the liquid. A reaction can cause nausea, vomiting, or trouble breathing. The test may cause you to feel dizzy, lightheaded, and weak. You may feel your heart throbbing or have extra heartbeats, chest pains, or a heart attack.


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Pharmacologic with Radiopharmacologic Stress Testing (Inpatient Care)

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