Cardiolite stress test identifies how your heart muscles and arteries perform during physical exertion and helps in the diagnosis of coronary artery disease. The test is performed to detect the blockages in the arteries that carry oxygen-rich blood to the heart. During exercise, the heart requires a large amount of blood supply which may be hindered when there are blockages in the arteries. Cardiolite stress test analyzes such blockages and the doctor suggests an appropriate treatment.
For patients who cannot walk on a treadmill to undergo a stress test, they can undergo Dobutamine cardiolite stress test. Dobutamine is a drug that acts as a stimulator and helps increase your heart rate similar to walking on a treadmill. Cardiolite is a radioactive isotope that allows images of the heart to be taken.
This test provides information about the amount of blood pumped by the heart and indicates if the coronary arteries are blockedthere could be any blockages in the arteries around your heart. It also helps to assess the risk of having a heart attack in the future.
How this is done:
The test usually takes 3-4 hours to complete. After noting down brief history, a Nuclear Medicine technologist starts an IV line in the patient’s arm. Then, they inject a radioactive compound called Cardiolite which allows for the ability to obtain images of the heart after circulating in the body for about 30 minutes. Then you undergo stress portion by giving dobutamine through the IV to increase the heart rate. A second dose of cardiolite will be injected once the target heart rate is reached which is allowed to circulate throughout the body for about 60seconds.
The comparison of the two sets of images will determine the condition of blood flow to the heart.
What methods are used:
To determine whether your heart gets enough supply of blood at increased levels of activity, the following tests may prove to be useful:
- Treadmill stress test: This measures your heart rate and EKG changes while walking on a treadmill.
- Dobutamine or Persantine/Lexiscan Nuclear Stress Test: In this test, people who are unable to exercise, are injected with a drug called Dobutamine to increase the heart rate or persantine/lexiscan is used to mimic changes in the arteries around the heart similar to as if you were exercising.
- Stress echocardiogram (Exercise or Dobutamine): In this test, baseline echocardiogram is obtained to visualize the movements of heart walls. Then the patient exercises or gets dobutamine through the iv if he cannot exercise, then echocardiogram is repeated. The 2 sets of pictures are compared which helps in determining if there could be any blockages in the arteries around the heart.
Are there any side-effects:
With a Dobutamine Stress Test, there are very rare complications which may include (but not limited to):
2. Increased angina pain during the test
3. Breathing problems
4. Extreme swings in blood pressure
5. Skin rashes
Follow-up treatments or next steps:
The stress test should be followed by certain precautionary measures:
- Quit smoking
- Have regular blood pressure checkup
- Reduce your intake of fats and cholesterol
- Exercise under the guidance of the doctor regularly
Contact our office:
We at Heart and Vascular clinic, have experience in providing valuable suggestions and treatment options for patients requiring stress tests. Please contact us at (302) 338-9444 for further discussion about our services.