Nuclear Stress Test Instructions

Please contact us at least 24 hours in advance if you must cancel. There is a pharmaceutical ordered specifically for you, which cannot be used for another person and cannot be returned. If advance notice is not given, we may charge a cancellation fee. 

DURATION OF TEST: Approximately 3 – 3.5 hours 
* For those scheduled on two separate days: Day 1 will take approx. 2 hours, Day 2 will take 1 hour. 


Caffeine 24 hours Coffee, Decaf, Tea, Soda, Chocolate, Cocoa, some Headache medicines (check labels for caffeine content) 
Food 4 hours  
Drinks other than water 4 hours  
Beta Blockers 24 hours, unless instructed otherwise by our physician Atenolol, Toprol (Metoprolol), Coreg (Carvedilol), Betapace, Bisoprolol, Lopressor, Propranolol (Tenormin), Sotalol, Zebeta 
Nitrates 24 hours, unless instructed otherwise by our physician Isosorbide, Imdur 
Nitrate patch Remove 1 hour before test Nitro patch 
Nicotine 12 hours Cigarettes, Cigars, Chewing tobacco 
  • Other than those medications listed above, take all your other medications normally. 
  • Drink 12oz water. 
  • Wear comfortable clothes and shoes. 
  • Do not wear a shirt with metal buttons or zippers. 
  • Please bring a snack high in healthy fat with you that does NOT require refrigeration. 

Nuclear Medicine Stress Test: 
This test is performed to evaluate blood flow to the heart muscle, to check for blockages in the arteries of your heart. This procedure is done in two parts and evaluates the resting blood flow of the heart and the blood flow to the heart under “stress”, or exercise. The stress portion of the test is achieved by either walking on a treadmill or receiving a medication which simulates the effect of exercise. Generally, if you weigh over 250 pounds, your test will be scheduled on two days. 

A small IV will be placed into a vein in your arm or hand and will remain in place for the entire procedure. It is used for the injection of the heart imaging agent. The imaging agent, which will not cause side effects, is a small amount of radioactive isotope that the camera detects and then uses to produce images of your heart according to the blood flow pattern. 

The procedure does not carry any greater risk than the radiation exposure you would receive if you were undergoing an x-ray or CAT (CT) scan. The radioactive material is cleared from your body by natural processes. 

Stress Preparation

  • You will be asked to sign a consent form. Please read the form carefully and do not hesitate to ask any questions. 
  • EKG patches will be put on your chest (men may need to have their chests shaved in the areas where the patches will be placed). 
  • You will then be connected to the electrocardiograph (EKG) machine. 

Time Frames: 

  • Allow 3 – 3.5 hours for the entire test. 
  • For those having a 2-day study, allow 2 hours for day one (stress test and imaging) and 1 hour for day 2 (rest imaging). 
  • The longest period of time you’ll spend on the imaging table at one time is approximately 20 minutes. 

If you have any further questions, please give us a call at 503-692-0405

Learn more about Cardiology at The Oregon Clinic