Cardiac Nuclear Dobutamine Stress Test

What Will The Pictures Show?

The IV injection sends the nuclear imaging material through the bloodstream to the heart. The nuclear imaging material has a small amount of radiation that can be seen with a special camera. If any areas of the heart are diseased (because of blocked or narrowed arteries), these areas will not show as much nuclear material as healthy arteries. The pictures will show the areas with less blood flow, called “defects”. The cardiologist (heart doctor) will analyze these pictures.

How Is It Done?

The test (scan) is done in two parts, while resting and with stress. For part one, an IV is started in a vein in your arm. Then the nuclear imaging material is given. This will be allowed to circulate for 30 minutes while you rest comfortably in a bed or chair.

After 30 minutes, the first scan will be done. You will be asked to lie flat with your left arm above your head. This scan takes about 15 minutes. After this scan, the second part of the test will begin.

DO NOT EAT OR DRINK anything between the two parts of the test.

For the second part of the test, you will lie on a bed or stretcher and have several electrodes (small sticky patches) placed on your chest. While resting, the Dobutamine is given slowly through the intravenous (IV) for about 15 to 20 minutes. A cardiologist (heart doctor) will be with you for this part of the test. It is normal for the heart muscle to squeeze faster and harder while getting the Dobutamine. When your heart has reached a certain rate and/or when the doctor has enough information, more nuclear imaging material will be given and the Dobutamine will be stopped. If your heart rate does not increase enough with the Dobutamine, you may be asked to do mild leg or arm exercises. You may also be given a medicine called Atropine to help increase your heart rate. You will need to tell the doctor if you have any chest pain or shortness of breath. Once again, the nuclear material will be allowed to circulate for 30 minutes while you rest. You can eat or drink while you wait. Then the final scan will be done using the same camera. This scan takes about 15 minutes.

The two scans will help the cardiologist tell if any defects or blockages are temporary, or if they are permanent due to earlier heart damage.

What Do I Need To Do To Get Ready?

  1. Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before your test.
  2. NO caffeine for 12 hours before your test and NO tobacco the day of the test.
  3. Bring all of your signed doctors’ orders and referrals with you.
  4. Bring a list of your medicines with you.
  5. Wear comfortable clothing. You will be wearing a hospital gown for the test.

*ASK THE DOCTOR who ordered the test about your medicines. Get specific instructions about your heart medicines and medicines for diabetes.

How Long Will The Test Take?

Allow 3-1/2 to 4 hours for the test.

How Will I Get The Results?

Results should be ready in about 48-72 hours. Contact the doctor who ordered the test to get your results.

PLEASE NOTE: If the results of your test need to be sent to a doctor who does not practice at Doylestown Hospital, you will need to provide the doctor’s full name, address and, if possible, FAX number. You may give us this information on the day of your visit or call 215-345-2231 Monday through Friday 8AM – 4:30PM.