Nuclear Stress Test: SPECT and PET

Diagnostic nuclear imaging studies that use radioactive tracers, called Cardiolite® (for SPECT) and rubidium (for PET), to produce images of the heart muscle. When combined with stress, either through exercise or the use of a pharmacological agent, the nuclear scan helps determine if the heart muscle is getting the blood supply it needs. If you are unable to exercise, your doctor may order a pharmacologic stress test, with either regadenoson (Lexiscan ®) or dobutamine, to simulate exercise and obtain the same information as an exercise stress test.

As coronary artery disease (CAD) progresses, the heart muscle may not receive enough blood when under stress (for example, when exercising). This can result in chest pain called angina pectoris. On the other hand, there may be no outward physical signs of the disease. If CAD is limiting blood flow to part of your heart, the nuclear stress test may be useful in detecting the presence and significance of CAD.

Holter Monitoring
A holter monitor continuously records your heart rhythm over a 24-hour period while you perform normal daily activities. The purpose of this monitoring is to detect the presence of abnormal heart rhythms, to evaluate the effectiveness of heart medications, to rule out the heart as the cause of your symptoms (such as dizziness, palpitations, fainting spells), or to evaluate pacemaker function.

Event Monitoring
An event monitor records your heart rhythm for a period of time up to 4 weeks. Recordings are not continuous and are initiated when you press an Event button to signal that you are experiencing symptoms such as dizziness, lightheadedness and/or palpitations. These recordings are transmitted to a scanning service that provides a summary of events and heart rhythm tracings to the physicians for interpretation.

The Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) Program
The Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) Program is an important service those patients who have been diagnosed with congestive heart failure.  This program is primarily managed by nurse practitioners specializing in congestive heart failure, under the close direction of your CSI cardiologist.

These days, there are more treatment options available for heart failure than ever before. The goals of treating heart failure are primarily to:

  • Decrease the advancement of the disease (thereby decreasing the need for emergency room visits or hospitalization)
  • Lessen the symptoms of CHF
  • Improve quality of life
  • Reduce health care costs to both the patient and the provider

You’re an active partner with us in the management of your congestive heart failure. Tight control over your medications and lifestyle (weight, nutrition, exercise, and stress management), coupled with careful monitoring, are the first steps.

The program includes an intensive education program focusing on symptom recognition, the importance of overall lifestyle routines (diet, exercise, etc.), as well as the importance of following the treatment plan. For patients with advanced congestive heart failure, the program includes closely monitoring medications.

Each eligible participant will be partnered with a cardiologist, a nurse practitioner and a primary telephone triage registered nurse. This team approach allows us to provide timely feedback for patients who need to speak with a care provider or for patients who are experiencing worsening symptoms of their CHF.