Stress Test

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Southeast Cardiology Clinic is the premier cardiology clinic in Dothan. We offer routine diagnostics, noninvasive MPI testing, prevention consultations, and treatment. Our doctors are experienced medical professionals. We care about you and your heart health. Give us a call today and schedule your stress test!

Everything you need to know about stress testing

What is a myocardial perfusion imaging test?

Myocardial perfusion imaging (MPI) is a non-invasive imaging test that shows how well blood flows through (perfuses) your heart muscle. It can show areas of the heart muscle that aren't getting enough blood flow. This test is often called a nuclear stress test. It can also show how well the heart muscle is pumping. 

Why do people have MPI tests?

An MPI test shows how well blood flows through your heart muscle. If the test shows a lack of blood flow during exercise or stress, but is normal at rest, it could mean that an artery that carries blood to your heart is narrowed or blocked. If the test shows a lack of blood flow to a portion of the heart muscle during exercise or stress and at rest, it could mean that your heart muscle is scarred, possibly from a past heart attack.
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An MPI test can help your doctor

  •     Find out if there are narrowings or blockages in your coronary (heart) arteries 
  •     Find out if you have damage from a heart attack
  •     Determine if you should undergo a coronary angiogram (heart catheterization)
  •     Find out if you would benefit from coronary stenting or bypass surgery
  •     Find out if an existing coronary stent and/or bypass grafts are working
  •     Find out how well your heart can handle physical activity
What are the risks of an MPI Test?

MPI tests are generally safe for most people. MPI studies expose you to a low dose of radiation. If you're pregnant or think you might be pregnant, or if you're a nursing mother, tell your doctor before you have this test.

How do I prepare for my MPI Test?

Tell your doctor about any medication you take, including over-the-counter medicines, herbs and vitamins. Only certain medications affect testing and should be withheld before a MPI test. A list will be provided to you when your test is scheduled.
Your doctor may also ask you not to eat or drink certain things, such as caffeine-containing beverages (e.g. coffee, tea, soft drinks) or chocolate, for 24 hours before your test. The test may have to be postponed or cancelled if you drink caffeine. Even decaffeinated items contain caffeine.

Don't eat, and drink only water for 4 to 6 hours before your test. You may have as much water as you'd like.
Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing and comfortable shoes to exercise in. If possible, avoid on-piece clothing since testing will involve repeated access to your chest area. 
When possible, avoid bringing children with you to the test appointment. The will not be able to sit in the designated stress testing waiting room due to radiation exposure. 

What happens during my MPI test?

Specially trained technologists perform the test with special equipment.
  •     An IV will be placed to administer a radioactive tracer. It does not burn, hurt, or make you feel any different.
  •     After allowing the tracer to circulate an appropriate amount of time, you will lay underneath a camera that will rotate around your chest for approximately 15 minutes taking pictures at different angles. These are called resting images because they are while your heart is at rest.
  •     After the first set of pictures, it is time for the stress portion of testing. Some people walk the treadmill, and others will receive a medicine that takes the place of walking the treadmill. Which version you will undergo is based on your physical capacity and medical history.
  •     Regardless of whether you walk the treadmill or receive a medication, small patches will be placed on your chest to obtain your electrocardiogram (ECG). The ECG keeps track of your heartbeat during your test. Your blood pressure, pulse rate, and oxygen saturation rate will also be obtained and recorded throughout the stress portion of the test.
  •     If you walk the treadmill, you will receive a second injection of the radioactive tracer upon reaching peak activity level, also known as target heart rate. Your target heart rate is calculated based on your age and gender, and reaching it contributes to the accuracy of your test.
  •      will receive a series of injections that include a vasodilator (a medicine that temporarily increases blood flow through your coronary arteries) called Lexiscan, a second dose of the radioactive tracer, and saline flushes. 
  •     Once the stress portion is completed, you will lay under the camera one more time to complete a second set of pictures. This set of pictures will be compared to the first set of pictures.
  •     The entire test takes between 3 and 4 hours.

What happens after my MPI test?

You can usually go back to your normal activities right away.
Drink plenty of water to flush the radioactive material from your body. Confirm a follow-up appointment with your doctor to discuss the test results and next steps. 
For more information regarding Lexiscan:
For more information regarding radioacctive tracers:
Medical and noninvasive services in Dothan
Call us now and schedule your MPI test! 
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