Harvard Heart Letter

Ask the doctor: Are there radiation-free tests for checking my arteries?

Ask the doctor

Are there radiation-free tests for checking my arteries?

Q. Are there any noninvasive, radiation-free tests that can give a doctor the same information about possible blockages in my coronary arteries as a nuclear stress test? I've had so many CT scans for other conditions that I'd prefer to go non-nuclear for a while.

A. You are right to be concerned about the amount of radiation you get from medical tests and to get only those tests you need. Advances in imaging have dramatically improved diagnosis and treatment in cardiology and most other branches of medicine. Yet the tests that use substantial doses of radiation, such as CT scans, nuclear stress tests, and coronary angiography, can add to the lifetime risk for cancer.

To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »