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How do you fast for a nuclear stress test?

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Quick Answer

Patients preparing for a nuclear stress test should not eat, drink or smoke for at least two hours prior to the procedure, according to Mayo Clinic. In some cases, doctors may ask patients to avoid caffeine and certain medications.

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Full Answer

A nuclear stress test measures the patient's heart while resting and during exertion, states Mayo Clinic. The purpose of the test is to reveal areas of the heart that may not be receiving an adequate amount of blood, as well as to detect potential damaged parts of the heart. A radioactive dye is injected into the bloodstream in order to accurately view any damage and the functioning of the heart. Patients may be asked to complete vigorous activities during the stress test, or they may be given medication that makes the heart work harder.

Doctors request nuclear stress tests if coronary heart disease is suspected, explains Mayo Clinic. Doctors may also want to view the size and the shape of the heart, or use the stress test to determine the proper type of treatment of the diagnosed heart condition. Once a person has been diagnosed and treated, doctors use a nuclear stress test to monitor the progress and how well the treatment is working.

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