When you develop symptoms like chest pain and shortness of breath, an early diagnosis is life-saving. Specialized nuclear imaging performed by the experts at Phoenix Heart reveals information about your blood flow that allows them to identify problems as early as possible and implement the best treatment. Nuclear medicine is performed in a fully accredited lab at Phoenix Heart. To schedule an appointment, use online booking or call one of the offices in Glendale, Goodyear, Anthem, Buckeye, and Black Canyon City, Arizona.
Nuclear medicine is a type of imaging that uses very small amounts of radioactive materials, called radiotracers, to examine the function of your heart. Radiotracers are designed to accumulate in specific tissues, where they send off radiation that’s detected by a special camera and translated into an image.
Your doctor at Phoenix Heart uses nuclear imaging to see blood flow, diagnose disease, determine the extent of heart damage, and evaluate the results following a procedure to restore blood flow.
Nuclear imaging may also be used together with an electrocardiogram to evaluate the movement of heart muscles and overall heart functioning.
Nuclear imaging is typically used to diagnose coronary artery disease. This heart condition develops when cholesterol and other fats accumulate in the coronary artery. Over time, this buildup, called plaque, enlarges and hardens. As a result, it blocks blood flow.
When blood flow to the heart slows down or is blocked, your heart muscles are injured because they don’t get enough oxygen and nutrients.
Permanent damage develops if the artery remains blocked, so it’s important to identify problems as early as possible. One of the benefits of nuclear medicine is that it can detect problems at an earlier stage compared with other imaging techniques.
A nuclear stress test measures blood flow to your heart during exercise and at rest. Your doctor places electrodes on your chest and back to measure the heart’s electrical activity. A catheter is also placed in your vein, which is used to administer the radioactive tracer.
After you exercise on a treadmill, your Phoenix Heart doctor injects a small amount of radiotracer, then a special camera takes images of your heart while it’s under stress from the activity. After you rest a while, radiotracer is injected again and another image is obtained of your heart at rest.
If your blood flow is normal at rest but not while exercising, your doctor knows that blood flow to your heart isn’t adequate when it’s under stress. If blood flow isn’t normal during rest and exercise, then part of your heart is permanently deprived of blood. The radioactive tracer reveals areas of your heart that are damaged.
When you need nuclear medicine, you can depend on the fully accredited nuclear lab at Phoenix Heart. If you have questions or would like to schedule an appointment, call or use the online booking feature.