San Diego Cardiac Center

  • (858) 244-6800
  • Kearny Mesa | Chula Vista

Nuclear Stress Test Instructions


The Nuclear Medicine Stress Test is a safe and powerful tool used to see images of your heart while you are at rest and shortly after a period of stress.  Stress is induced either through exercise (Treadmill Stress Test) or through an injection of Lexiscan (Chemical Stress Test). Lexiscan mimics the effect of exercise.

Nuclear Stress Tests provide information about the circulation and function of your heart.  This test can be used to examine the blood flow to the heart, determine the amount of damage to the heart muscle after a heart attack, diagnose the cause of chest pain (angina) and check the health of your arteries. This information helps your physician develop the best treatment plan for your long-term heart health.


  1. 48 hours prior to the test – If scheduled for the Treadmill Stress Test, no oral asthma medications (i.e. Thodur, Slobid, Theophylline, etc.)
  2. 12 hours prior to either test – No caffeine.  Avoid both regular and decaffeinated coffee and tea.  No soft drinks, chocolate, dairy, nuts, or alcohol.
  3. 4 hours prior to either test – Do not eat or drink. Water is OK. Diabetics may have a light SNACK noting the above restrictions. Patients may take all medications unless directed otherwise by a physician.
  4. Wear comfortable, loose-fitting warm clothes and walking shoes for exercise.  Female patients do not wear dresses or under-wire bras.


Please allow 2 to 4 hours for this 3-part procedure.

  1. An IV will be started in your arm.  A dose of a very safe radiopharmaceutical (Myoview) is injected.  This travels through the body and concentrates in your heart.  There are no side effects and it does not change how your heart functions. 15-60 minutes later, “rest” images will be taken while your heart rhythm is monitored. The camera does not go over your head. Instead, it pivots over the chest as it acquires images of the heart.
  2. Next, to exercise your heart for the stress test, one of 2 methods will be used.
    • Treadmill Stress Test: You will walk on the treadmill until your predetermined peak activity level is reached at which time a small amount of Myoview is injected. Your blood pressure and ECG will be monitored.  During treadmill exercise, you may experience shortness of breath, fatigue, or chest discomfort.
    • Chemical Stress Test:  Lexiscan will be given through your IV for 10 seconds.  You may or may not experience shortness of breath, chest discomfort, headache, nausea, and/or a warm flushed feeling.  If experienced, these symptoms subside shortly after stopping the medication.
  3. 15-120 minutes after the Stress Test, “stress images” will be taken while your heart rhythm is monitored.  This completes the exam.

If you are unable to walk or transfer yourself, you must bring an aide or companion to assist you.  Our staff cannot assist with transferring or lifting of patients.  If you do not have assistance available, call our office and we will assist in scheduling you at another facility.

If you are pregnant or think you may be, notify your doctor before taking the test.

To avoid a $200 cancellation fee, notify us at least 24 hours prior to an appointment at (858) 244-6800.