Diagnosing and detecting heart problems before they become serious is the key to living a longer, healthier life. At Memorial Katy Cardiology Associates, we offer this service at our Katy and Houston locations. The board-certified physicians and nurse practitioners offer cardiac nuclear medicine to diagnose possible heart and blood vessel problems in their early stages. Call the office today or schedule an appointment online to learn more about cardiac nuclear medicine.
Cardiac nuclear medicine uses a small amount of radioactive material called a tracer or radiotracer and imaging technology to develop pictures of blood flow to your heart during rest and physical activity.
Cardiac nuclear medicine detects heart damage, poor blood flow, and more. It allows your provider to assess your risk of a heart attack, coronary artery disease (CAD), and other problems.
Your Memorial Katy Cardiology Associates provider reviews your medical history, symptoms, and lifestyle to determine if cardiac nuclear medicine is right for you. They check your blood pressure and other vital signs and complete a physical exam. You might also need bloodwork and further diagnostic testing.
Your provider might suggest cardiac nuclear medicine if you have chest pain, shortness of breath, and other symptoms of heart problems. They use the procedure to guide treatment decisions, diagnose CAD, or determine how well a treatment works.
To get ready for the procedure, follow your specialist’s instructions. Plan to arrive at Memorial Katy Cardiology Associates about 30 minutes before the procedure, which could last about three hours.
Our physicians will ask you to avoid eating, drinking, smoking, or taking some medicines before the scheduled procedure as this will interfere with your test results. However, drinking water is encouraged prior to the exam. If you have asthma and use an inhaler, bring it to your appointment.
Wear comfortable clothes and shoes, and avoid applying lotions, creams, or oils to your skin on the day of a cardiac nuclear medicine procedure.
Your provider listens to your lungs and heart to check for possible problems. They insert an IV line into your arm to inject the radioactive tracer. It might feel cold when first injected. After a few minutes, your provider uses imaging technology to develop images of your heart while you’re resting.
They place sensors on your chest, which are attached to wires and an electrocardiogram (EKG) machine to record your heart’s activity during exercise or after taking medications that mimic the effects of exercise. You’ll walk on a treadmill, or take medications that mimic the effects of exercise, increasing exercise intensity as directed by your specialist.
Your provider injects another tracer into your bloodstream after you exercise, and takes additional images of your heart and blood flow.
Unless otherwise instructed, you can resume normal activities after undergoing a cardiac nuclear medicine procedure. Drink a lot of water to flush the tracer out of your system.
The Memorial Katy Cardiology Associates team reviews the results with you. They let you know if you need further diagnostic tests, lifestyle changes, medication, or a medical procedure.
Call the nearest Memorial Katy Cardiology Associates office today or schedule an appointment online to learn more about cardiac nuclear medicine and if it’s right for you.