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How does a person prepare for a nuclear stress test?

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Quick Answer

There are numerous ways that patients can prepare for a nuclear stress test including wearing comfortable clothing and nonskid shoes during the test, according to the National Institutes of Health's MedlinePlus. Other ways in which individuals can prepare for this specific test is to avoid drinking caffeine for 24 hours before the test, avoiding eating and drinking after midnight and avoid taking certain medications that might interfere with the test.

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Full Answer

A primary health care physician will advise patients if they have to stop taking specific medications before the nuclear stress test. Patients should never abruptly stop taking medications without a doctor's consent first.

The most common sensations patients feel during the test include chest pain, shortness of breath, muscle cramps in legs and feet and fatigue. In rare situations, patients may experience chest discomfort, dizziness and palpitations. When patients are given the vasodilator drug, they may experience rapid heart rate, nausea and headache. When patient's are given medications to make their heart beat stronger during the test, they may experience nausea, headache and a strong heartbeat.

A nuclear stress test is given to patients to see how well the blood in their body is flowing to their heart muscle during periods when they are active and when they are rested. Before the test, patients will be administered an intravenous line with a radioactive substance injected into their veins.

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