What is Nuclear Heart Scan also Known as?

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Jul 29, 2014
Quick Bites

  • Nuclear heart scan is used to check heart health
  • There are three main purposes of this examination
  • Nuclear heart test can also detect symptoms of CHD
  • The doctor must be made aware of other health problems before examination

What is Nuclear Heart Scan?

A nuclear test is an examination conducted to check the health of the heart. To conduct the test, a radioactive substance called tracer is injected into the bloodstream of the person through their vein. The tracer then reaches the heart and releases energy. Cameras outside the body detect the energy and it is used to take pictures of the heart.

What is it Used for?

Nuclear heart scans are used for three main purposes:

  • To examine the flow of blood to the heart muscle. In cases where the part of the heart muscle is not receiving blood, it can be a sign of coronary heart disease (CHD)
  • To examine the damaged heart muscle. This damage can be caused by a previous heart attack, injury, infection, or medicine
  • To check how well the heart pumps blood to the body. When a nuclear heart scan is used for this purpose, it is called ventricular function scanning

Types of Nuclear Heart Scans

There are two main types of nuclear heart scans namely: single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) and cardiac positron emission tomography (PET).

What are the other Names for Nuclear Heart Scans?

The other names for nuclear heart scans are:

  • Nuclear stress test
  • SPECT scan
  • PRT scan
  • Radionuclide scan

What to Expect Before the Test?

A nuclear heart scan can be a lengthy process. It can take 2-5 hours, especially in cases where the doctor wants to take two sets of pictures. Before the test, it is necessary to discuss the procedure with your doctor. Share all your health-related troubles with them.

If you are suffering from lung disease or diabetes, the doctor will give you special instructions before the nuclear heart scan. The doctor must know about the medications you have been taking. The dosage of your minerals, vitamins, and other supplements must be told to the doctor before the scan begins.

Image courtesy: Getty Images

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