Houston Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center was one of the first in the country to have a dedicated nuclear cardiology laboratory. Nuclear cardiology is a cardiac imaging technique that uses technologies such as computerized tomography (CT) scanning combined with infusions of radioisotope markers (radioactive dyes) to create highly detailed two-dimensional and three-dimensional views of the heart.
The most common procedure in nuclear cardiology is the nuclear stress test, which provides views of the blood flow to your heart during stress (exercise) and at rest.
Here's how it works:
- Make sure to follow your physician's instructions for preparing for the test; these may include fasting or temporarily stopping certain medications.
- The technician will attach sticky patches (electrodes) to your chest, legs, and arms; these will connect to an electrocardiogram (EKG) machine.
- You'll begin walking on a treadmill or pedaling a stationary bike, and the incline or resistance will slowly increase.
- When your heart rate reaches a set target, a radioactive dye will be injected and the technician will use a gamma camera (a special camera similar to an X-ray machine) to take images of your heart.
- You'll be asked to rest for a couple of hours, after which the technician will take another set of images. This second set of images will let your doctor compare the blood flow through your heart during exercise and at rest.
For more information about nuclear cardiology at the Houston Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center, please call 713-DEBAKEY (332-2539) or complete our online contact us form.
- Perfusion imaging
- Stress and/or rest/stress imaging as appropriate
- New cameras for shorter scan time
- Novel pharmacologic stress