What is a nuclear stress test?

Nuclear Stress Test

A nuclear stress test combines imaging technology, small amounts of radioactive material, and an exercise stress test to diagnose and monitor heart problems. Your doctor may use a nuclear stress test to diagnose coronary artery disease and assess damage from a heart attack or other heart problems. A nuclear stress test can also show how well your heart pumps blood.

A nuclear stress test, sometimes called a thallium stress test, is an important test because some heart problems can only be seen when the heart is under stress from exercising. A nuclear stress test also provides important information about how the heart is functioning. Other imaging methods, such as X-rays and CTs, do not show how the heart responds to stress.    

A nuclear stress test is only one method to monitor and diagnose heart conditions. Discuss all of your testing options with your doctor to understand which options are right for you.  

Medical Reviewers: Daphne E. Hemmings, MD, MPH Last Review Date: Jul 14, 2013

© 2015 Healthgrades Operating Company, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Healthgrades Operating Company, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the Healthgrades User Agreement.

View Sources

Medical References

  1. Exercise Stress Test. American Heart Association.
  2. Isotope Stress Test.
  3. Nuclear Medicine Imaging. American Society of Radiologic Technologists.
  4. Nuclear Stress Test. HeartHealthyWomen. Org.
  5. Stress Nuclear Study. American College of Cardiology.
  6. Types of Stress Testing. National Heart Lung and Blood Institute.
  7. What Is a Nuclear Heart Scan? National Heart Lung and Blood Institute.
  8. What Is an Electrocardiogram? National Heart Lung and Blood Institute.

You Might Also Like

Exercising with diabetes can provide you with all kinds of health benefits.

Cold and Flu Season Must-Haves

When you're sick, the last thing you want to do is make a trip to the pharmacy. Be prepared with these products.

Share via Email

© Copyright 2015 Healthgrades Operating Company, Inc. Patent US Nos. 7,752,060 and 8,719,052. All Rights Reserved. 
Third Party materials included herein protected under copyright law.

Use of this website and any information contained herein is governed by the Healthgrades User Agreement.