A Cardiolite treadmill stress test is a test to assess the coronary blood flow. It is quite similar to a standard treadmill stress test; however, this test makes use of an isotope known as Cardiolite, from where it gets its name.
Although quite similar to a standard treadmill test, the Cardiolite treadmill test can provide a lot more information about your heart. It is able to detect the areas of the heart that are not receiving adequate amounts of oxygen and blood. It can also show the heart's recovery rate after exercise and any irregularities with the heart's rhythm and whether the patient has suffered a heart attack in the recent past.
The treadmill cardiolite stress test consists of two 30 to 60 minute phases. The second phase may require the patient to return for testing the following day. In the first phase, a small amount of the isotope is injected intravenously. The isotope poses no danger to the heart or other organs of the body. An electrocardiogram or EKG is used to monitor the heart's electrical activity. Electrodes will be placed on the patient's chest to record the EKG. The healthcare provider will then ask the patient to step onto the treadmill and exercise on it for a while. Then, depending on the patient's capacity, the speed and incline will gradually be increased. The healthcare provider will monitor any changes occurring in the EKG pattern and patient stress level.
If the patient displays symptoms of chest pain or extreme tiredness, the healthcare provider will immediately stop the test.
Immediately following the test, the patient will be asked to lie flat on an examination table, with arms above the head. A special camera will photograph the patient's heart, showing the areas that are not receiving adequate supply of blood and oxygen. This session normally takes around 20 to 30 minutes. Another set of pictures is taken after the patient has rested. This shows the areas of the heart that have recovered but are still not receiving adequate amounts of blood and oxygen. Areas that have not recovered may point to scared tissues from previous heart attacks.
The patient should not eat or drink anything, four hours before the treadmill cardiolite stress test. However, drinking water is permitted. The patient should avoid smoking at least four hours before the test commences. The patient should wear comfortable clothes and athletic or walking shoes.