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