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A 56-year-old male asked:

My doctor ordered a nuclear stress test but i am concern about the risks and nuclear injection?

3 doctor answers4 doctors weighed in
Dr. Bac Nguyen
Family Medicine 24 years experience
Talk to your doc...: It is quite normal to be apprehensive about the test and potential side effect of med/material you are given. The substances often used in nuclear stress test is called thallium-201 or technetium-99 radioactive isotopes. The amount used is quite small and long-term cancer risk is less than 1 in 1000 in older adults. I recommend discussing your concern with your doc. Good luck.
Dr. Bac Nguyen
Dr. Bac Nguyen commented
Family Medicine 24 years experience
Provided original answer
Hello, Zebra; Wow!!! A nuclear physicist! That is awesome. Anyhow, as I mentioned above, the amount used is small and you likely WON'T feel any effect from this. It is however nerve-wracking having it injected into your body. I actually had a patient who got a nuclear stress test which was all ok, went to Canada and on the way back 3 days later the detector at the border went-off!!!
Dec 4, 2013
Dr. Brian Wosnitzer
Nuclear Medicine 19 years experience
Stress test...: There are 2 forms of nuclear stress... Exercise ; pharmacologic. Usually exercise is preferred if possible. Both methods use a tracer such as technetium or thallium to image the heart. You will not feel side effects from the tracer itself however it does expose you to a small amount of radiation. If pharmacologic stress test is performed, you may feel some effects from the pharm agent.
Dr. Gerald Mandell
Nuclear Medicine 53 years experience
Low risks: A cardiac perfusion scan measures the amount of blood supplied to your heart muscle. Radiotracers such as thallium or technetium sestamibi are injected intravenously and travel through blood to heart muscle. Two sets of images are made during rest and exercise are compared. Indications for this study include chest pain, previous heart attack, heart surgery and coronary artery disease.

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