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Nuclear (Thallium) Stress Test, Anyone?

Discussion in 'Cardiovascular and exercise physiology (CPET)' started by MsUnderstood, Jun 15, 2018.

  1. MsUnderstood

    MsUnderstood Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Next week, I have an appointment for the above test due to intermittent symptoms of heart failure post-ME, a family history of cardiac issues, and the recent scheduling for double by-pass surgery in a sibling. I believe my unstable blood pressure, extremely high heart rate and arrhythmias are due to autonomic dysfunction (POTS), but have agreed to the test because . . . . what if I'm wrong?

    Here's a link that describes the test: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/265579.php

    If the cardiac diagnostic clinic is not familiar with ME, my test results may be misinterpreted -- specifically that I am merely deconditioned. They offer the rehabilitation program for patients diagnosed at our local POTS clinic, which means an exercise program.

    Depending on the day, I could reach the target heart rate immediately upon standing. My test could be over before it even gets started! Or, I might do OK.

    My concerns are twofold . . . that the doctor/technician looks for the right things based on cardiac abnormalities that have been found in ME patients, and that I might be pressured into exercise rehabilitation.

    At appointments, I usually don't bring out ME documentation unless I feel I need to. But I do like to have it on hand. Can anyone recommend suitable research reports to take along, just in case? What would be the best/most recent document to take that describes why exercise is not the answer for ME patients?

    Also, I'd be interested in hearing other members' experiences with this test. Thanks.
    Rosie and alktipping like this.
  2. alktipping

    alktipping Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    doctors cannot pressure you into any treatment unless you let them . as a patient they are paid for advice whether or not you accept their advice is your choice do not allow an overbearing doctor to bully you into any treatment you know will cause you harm . hopefully you can have a friend who understand your needs with you for support .
    Dolphin and MsUnderstood like this.
  3. Forbin

    Forbin Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    I had this test a couple of years ago. In my case, I believe the radioactive tracer was Technictium-99. As the webpage you linked to said, if you are unable to do the treadmill test, they can give you something (possibly something like amyl nitrite) to speed up your heart rate, if necessary. I saw an elderly woman take this option rather than use the treadmill.

    In my case, I was able to do the treadmill test and they injected the tracer at some point during that exercise. Then you just lie under a "gamma camera" as it takes photos. This was a fairly slow process and you are asked to remain still during the "exposure." I don't think I remained still very well due to still being somewhat out of breath, but it seemed to work out OK.

    My test was fine. Like you, it was prompted by a history of heart disease in other family members.

    One thing I was not told, but learned later, is that it is probably a good idea to urinate frequently to keep your bladder empty for a few hours after the test. The idea is that the radioactive tracer will concentrate in the bladder as it filters out of the body in the urine, so you don't want it to just sit there at high concentration while it is decaying. This might just be an over-cautious recommendation, but you could see what your doctor thinks.

    Good luck on the test.
    MsUnderstood likes this.
  4. Milo

    Milo Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    I had the persantine test, where they induce effort without being on the threadmill. The nuclear test is lookimg at the general heart health and to see if you have blocked arteries or whether there are any heart pathologies to be comcerned about.

    There is a 100% certainty that us patients with ME are deconditioned. POTs is a co-morbidity and while in some patients with POTS, exercise is encouraged, in ME exercise is proscribed. You do not have to agree to an exercise program knowing it will harm you.

    My test was normal. It was a bit of a pain in the butt to have to stay at the hospital for the length of time waiting for the nuclear compound to get absorbed. I got a crash from the whole exercise, because of being out so lomg in less than ideal environment (noise, light, activity). The persantine made me uncomfortable from increased heart rate, but it did not last very long, just a few minutes. The staff is ready to reverse it if it becomes too intolerable.

    Best wishes.
    Dolphin and MsUnderstood like this.

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