Radionuclide stress test

View the Heart Disease Slideshow

Medical Definition of Radionuclide stress test

Radionuclide stress test: A procedure that involves injecting a radioactive isotope, typically thallium or cardiolyte, into the patient's vein after which an image of the patient's heart becomes visible with a special camera. The radioactive isotopes are absorbed by the normal heart muscle. Nuclear images are obtained in the resting condition, and again immediately following exercise. The two sets of images are then compared. During exercise, if a blockage in a coronary artery results in diminished blood flow to a part of the cardiac muscle this region of the heart will appear as a relative "cold spot" on the nuclear scan. This cold spot is not visible on the images that are taken while the patient is at rest when coronary flow is adequate. Radionuclide stress testing enhances the accuracy of the diagnosis in coronary artery disease.


Quick GuideHeart Disease: Causes of a Heart Attack

Heart Disease: Causes of a Heart Attack

Subscribe to MedicineNet's Heart Health Newsletter

By clicking Submit, I agree to the MedicineNet's Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet's subscriptions at any time.

Reviewed on 6/14/2012

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors