Ask the doctor: Nuclear stress tests

Published: May, 2011

Q. I recently had a nuclear stress test and the contrast agent got stuck in my gut, so the image couldn't be read. Is this a common problem, and is there anything that can be done about it?

A. The purpose of a stress test is to identify problems with blood supply to the heart muscle or the coronary arteries that supply it with blood. The standard test involves measuring the heart's electrical activity with an electrocardiogram (ECG) while the patient "stresses" his or her heart with exercise, which usually means walking on a treadmill or pedaling a stationary bike.

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