Ask the doctor: Are there noninvasive alternatives to a nuclear stress test?

Published: July, 2010

Q. After I had an abnormal electrocardiogram, my doctor wants me to have a nuclear stress test to check my arteries for any blockages. (I also have a left side bundle block.) What noninvasive test would give as much information (or almost as much) as a nuclear stress test? I have had many scans, for this and that, so I would like to limit my exposure to radiation if possible.

A. There are a number of options to test for coronary artery blockages. The gold standard is coronary angiography. But since it is invasive, requiring that a catheter be inserted into the heart, imaging tests are often used first to see if a coronary angiogram is needed.

To continue reading this article, you must log in.
  • 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

New subscriptions to Harvard Health Online are temporarily unavailable. Click the button below to learn about our other subscription offers.

Learn More »