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What is a chemical stress test and imaging?

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Quick Answer

A chemical stress test uses a medication to increase blood flow to the heart in patients unable to exercise, states the American Heart Association. Myocardial imaging involves injecting a radioactive substance into the blood and obtaining images with a special camera to see the blood flow to the heart muscle.

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Stress tests with imaging studies, often called nuclear stress tests, allow doctors to see if there are any areas of reduced blood flow in the heart due to blockages in the arteries, explains MedlinePlus. Doctors are also able to determine the heart's pumping function and see scarred areas of the heart using myocardial imaging. Patients with abnormal nuclear stress test results sometimes require further testing, such as cardiac catheterization.

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