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  • Cardiolite Exercise Test FAQ

    Cardiolite Exercise Test

    The Cardiolite Exercise Test evaluates the adequacy of blood supply to the heart muscle.

    The heart muscle receives blood from vessels called coronary arteries. If these arteries become partially blocked or narrowed, the heart muscle may not receive the blood it needs to function properly. This narrowing of coronary arteries is called coronary artery disease (CAD).

    With CAD, the heart muscle may not receive sufficient blood supply during exercise or when under stress, which may result in chest pain called angina or other symptoms, or may not produce any outward physical signs of the problem. A Cardiolite Exercise Test is useful in detecting the presence of CAD.

    You can have a light breakfast with juice the morning of the test but no caffeine (no tea, coffee, decaffeinated products, chocolate, soda pop or medications containing caffeine).

    You should bring comfortable exercise clothing and shoes (preferably running shoes) appropriate for exercising on a treadmill.

    Bring a list of all present medications.

    Your physician may decide to temporarily discontinue certain heart medications prior to the test. These are discontinued because they may offset the effectiveness of the test. Your physician MUST inform you whether to discontinue these heart medications 48 hours prior to the test. DO NOT STOP any medication on your own without checking with your physician. You may resume taking your medications following the exercise portion of the test and throughout the remainder of the test.

    Prior to the test, you will be asked to sign a consent form. Please read it carefully and if you have any questions, that can detect radiation, will visualize the Cardiolite in your heart muscle. The camera is positioned close to your chest and rotates slowly around you taking pictures as it moves. It takes up to 20 minutes to take these pictures and it is important to lie as still as possible during this time to avoid blurring the images.

    Several electrode pads will be placed on your chest after the first set of pictures have been taken. These pads will be connected to an electrocardiograph (ECG) monitor so that your heart rhythm can be watched closely throughout the test.

    You will exercise by walking on a treadmill, which increases its speed and grade in stages. As exercise increases, your heart rate and blood pressure will rise. This is a normal response and they will be monitored along with your ECG.

    You will be encouraged to exercise for as long as you canbecause this increases the effectiveness of the test. If you experience any symptoms, at any time, such as chest pain, shortness of breath or lightheadedness, immediately tell the individual monitoring the test so adjustments can be made.

    A second dose of Cardiolite will be injected into your blood stream via the intravenous when you reach your maximum level of exercise. If blood flow is limited due to CAD, then the amount of Cardiolite in your heart muscle is reduced. The intravenous will be removed and you may leave the clinic after the exercise test is completed. However, you must return for a second set of pictures. Your return time will be determined by the technologist. The second set of pictures does not require exercise or another injection of Cardiolite and will only take 20-30 minutes. The second set of pictures is compared with the first set to assess the blood supply to your heart muscle during the exercise and at rest.

    A written report will be sent to your physician upon completion of analysis of the test. Your physician will then explain the test results to you.

    The first portion lasts approximately 2-3 hours and consists of imaging followed by a stress test. The patient will then wait 45-60 minutes before additional imaging which takes about 30 minutes.

    The injection of Cardiolite results in a small amount of radiation exposure to your body that is comparable to naturally occurring sources (food, air, water, the ground and materials).

    The radiation you receive is not felt, seen, smelled or tasted, nor does it make you or your clothing radioactive.


    The Cardiolite is eliminated from the body within 3-4 days without leaving any trace or effect.

    The exercise portion of the test constitutes a risk factor equivalent to 1, 500 kilometers of highway driving.

    You can take your heart medications after completion of the first portion of the test.

    You will be able to drive after the test. Please inform the technologist if you will be traveling by airplane, train or crossing the border within one week after your test.

    An adverse reaction to the Cardiolite is extremely rare.

    If you are pregnant or there is a possibility of pregnancy, or if you are breastfeeding, a Cardiolite Exercise Test may be inappropriate for you at this time.

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