Preparing for a
Cardiac Nuclear Stress Test

What you can expect to feel

If you're having an exercise stress test as part of your cardiac nuclear stress test, you'll be asked to walk on a treadmill or pedal a stationary bicycle while attached to EKG and blood pressure monitors. As you exercise, your heart rate will rise and you'll breathe harder, just as happens if you're exercising.


When you have a stress test with a pharmacologic agent, what you'll feel is similar to what you would feel when exercising. You may feel a shortness of breath, headache, flushing, chest discomfort or chest pain, dizziness, or nausea. You may also experience abdominal discomfort, a metallic taste in the mouth, or a hot feeling.


Be sure to tell the medical team administering your test if any of the reactions you have worry you.

If you feel anxious

It's normal to feel apprehensive about a medical test if you haven't experienced it before. It may help to remember that stress testing has been performed on many people. You'll also have the reassurance of a team of medical professionals who will closely monitor you throughout the entire procedure.

Tips for getting ready

Before the day of your test, it's important to do the following:

  • Tell your doctor if you have a history of seizures.
  • Get complete instructions from your doctor, including lists of foods, drinks, and any over-the-counter (OTC) medications or nutritional supplements to avoid before the test.
  • Ask your doctor if you should stop taking any prescription medications before the test and for how long.
  • DO NOT consume foods, drinks, or medications that contain methylxanthines (eg, caffeine, aminophylline, or theophylline) for at least 12 hours before the Lexiscan® (regadenoson) injection test; one easy way to remember this is: "12 hours or less, no pharm stress."
  • If you have diabetes and use insulin or oral diabetes medications, ask your doctor for specific instructions.
  • Be sure to tell (or remind) your doctor if you have COPD, asthma, or any other breathing problems.
  • Don't apply any lotions or powder to your chest on test day.
  • Dress comfortably.

Foods, drinks, and medications you should not have before the test

Be sure to discuss with your doctor which food and drinks to avoid before the test. As a rule of thumb, you should not consume foods, drinks, or medications that contain caffeine for at least 12 hours before the test, including decaffeinated products. This includes coffee, tea, chocolate and cocoa products, soda, including those labeled "caffeine-free," diet supplements, energy drinks, and products containing guarana. You should also not take medications that contain aminophylline, theophylline, or dipyridamole.

View a short list of what not to eat or drink before your test

For most people with CAD, making changes to your lifestyle can help. Learn how at Heart-Healthy Lifestyle.


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Read Lexiscan® (regadenoson) injection Full Prescribing Information (PDF - 193 KB)

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Use

Lexiscan (regadenoson) injection is a prescription drug given through an IV line that increases blood flow through the arteries of the heart during a cardiac nuclear stress test. Lexiscan is given to patients when they are unable to exercise adequately for a stress test.

Important Safety Information
  • Lexiscan should not be given to patients who have certain abnormal heart rhythms unless they have a pacemaker.
  • Lexiscan can cause serious or fatal cardiac arrest, abnormal heart rhythms or heart attack.
  • Allergic reactions can occur after Lexiscan injection.
  • Drugs such as Lexiscan may cause an increase or decrease in blood pressure, especially in patients with certain heart and blood vessel disorders.
  • Lexiscan can cause breathing difficulties. Before receiving Lexiscan, tell your doctor if you have respiratory diseases, such as COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) or asthma. Tell your doctor about all medications you use to manage these conditions.
  • Lexiscan can increase the risk of seizures. Before receiving Lexiscan, tell your doctor if you have a history of seizures.
  • Lexiscan can cause stroke, which may be a result of an increase or decrease in blood pressure.
  • The most common side effects that occurred in clinical trials of Lexiscan were shortness of breath, headache, flushing, chest discomfort or chest pain, dizziness, nausea, abdominal discomfort, a metallic taste in the mouth, and feeling hot. Most common side effects began soon after receiving Lexiscan and went away within 15 minutes except for headache, which resolved in most patients within 30 minutes.
  • Avoid consuming any caffeine-containing foods and beverages or medicines containing caffeine, aminophylline or theophylline in the 12 hours before your scheduled heart scan.
  • Ask your doctor if you should stop taking any medications you usually take before the day of the test.
  • For women who are nursing, pump and discard breast milk for 10 hours after receiving Lexiscan.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088.