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Home > Medical Services > Heart & Vascular > Tests & Diagnosis > Nuclear Cardiology
Nuclear Cardiology has played an important role in diagnosing the presence and extent of heart disease. It also aids in predicting coronary artery disease outcomes.
Nuclear cardiology studies use noninvasive techniques to assess blood flow to the heart muscle, to evaluate the pumping function of the heart, and to visualize the size and location of a heart attack.
During a nuclear stress test, a small amount of a safe chemical is injected into the blood stream during rest and also during exercise or chemical stress. A scanning device is used to measure absorption of the chemical by the heart. If there is significant blockage of a coronary artery, the heart muscle may not get enough blood supply during exercise or chemical stress. This decrease in blood flow will be detected by the images shown on the nuclear camera.
A nuclear study can also be used to assess heart function (the pumping function of the heart). A small dose of a chemical is injected into the blood stream and pictures of the four chambers of the heart are taken using the camera. These techniques can also provide information about the function of the valves of the heart, the integrity of all the cardiac chambers, and the effects of different drugs on the heart.
The evaluation of cardiac function using a nuclear camera is accurate and continues to play a critical role in predicting outcomes in patients with heart disease.