Cardiovascular Testing and Diagnostics
Lifespan Cardiovascular Institute

Frequently Asked Questions

What is nuclear cardiology imaging?

Nuclear cardiology studies are procedures in which a small amount of radioactive material is used to assess myocardial blood flow, evaluate the pumping function of the heart and visualize the size and location of a heart attack.

Who will perform my test?

A nuclear medicine technologist will perform the imaging portion of your test. They are highly trained and licensed by the State of Rhode Island in the field of nuclear medicine technology. If your test requires some sort of exercise, a nurse who has been specially trained will conduct the exercise portion of the test. Our nurses are also licensed by the State of Rhode Island, and perform this test under the supervision of a cardiologist.

What should I expect?

Myocardial perfusion imaging stress test

How do I get my results?

When your test is finished, a cardiologist will interpret the images and ECG. A written report is then sent to your physician.

Is it safe?

Very small amounts of radioactive materials are used. There are no known side effects from the radiopharmaceuticals. If you are having exercise with your exam you will be closely monitored during the procedure.

Nuclear medicine procedures may not be appropriate for pregnant women or nursing mothers. Please inform the technologist before your exam if you have any concerns.

Do I have to do anything special before I have a nuclear cardiology exam?

There are some exams that require you to prepare for the test.​

Myocardial perfusion imaging stress test

Gated blood pool scan (RVG): No special preparation 

Will it hurt?

The only discomfort from a myocardial perfusion imaging test that you may be from the initial insertion of the intravenous (IV) that is used to administer the medication and radioactive material needed for your test.

The only discomfort from a gated blood pool scan (RVG) that you may feel is from the two injections that are needed for the exam.

How soon may I eat after the test?

You may eat immediately afterward.