What is a pharmacological nuclear stress test?

Gamma Camera

A pharmacological nuclear stress test is a diagnostic test used to evaluate blood flow to the heart. During the test, a small amount of radioactive tracer is injected into a vein. A special camera, called a gamma camera, detects the radiation released by the tracer to produce computer images of the heart.

Combined with a medication, the test can help determine if there is adequate blood flow to the heart during activity versus at rest. The medication does not increase your heart rate. The medication dilates blood vessels leading into the heart, increasing blood flow, therefore simulating exercise for patients unable to exercise on a treadmill.

This information is about testing and procedures and may include instructions specific to Cleveland Clinic. Please consult your physician for information pertaining to your testing.