Nuclear Cardiology at FCCI is a staple in the diagnosis, treatment, and management of Coronary Artery Disease (CAD). While performing over 3,000 stress tests annually, it is the goal of FCCI’s accredited laboratory to provide a comfortable and safe environment for every patient. Our caring and knowledgeable technologists are well trained and board certified.
Types of Procedures:
Nuclear Stress Test (approximately 2 hour duration)
The main clinical examination performed in nuclear cardiology is Myocardial Perfusion Imaging (also known as a Nuclear Stress Test). During a nuclear stress test, a small amount of radioactive tracer is injected intravenously. Two injections are administered: under rest conditions and under stress conditions. Stress conditions are obtained by use of treadmill exercise or medications that simulate the effects of exercise on the heart. This tracer is taken up by areas of the heart muscle receiving normal blood flow. Areas of the heart which are supplied blood by blocked blood vessels will show as decreased uptake or absence of the tracer. Images are acquired with use of a very sensitive Gamma Camera that creates still pictures as well as movies of the heart. These images are displayed in 3-dimensional format.
This technique provides an assessment of the volume of the total heart, which is not obtaining adequate blood supply. The larger the volume of the heart not receiving adequate blood, the more dangerous the situation is for the patient if this decreased blood flow is not corrected.
These cardiac images identify coronary heart disease, the severity of prior heart attacks, and the risk of future heart attacks. These highly accurate measurements of heart size, function and amount of heart muscle at risk of damage, enable cardiologists to better prescribe medications and select further testing like a coronary angiogram, the need for angioplasty and bypass surgery, or devices to optimize treatment outcomes.
Treadmill Stress Test (approximately 30 minute duration)
The treadmill stress test is just that, a stress test entirely done on the treadmill. Patients are hooked up to an EKG machine for evaluation under exercise conditions. EKG abnormalities relative to cardiac problems can present themselves under exercise or “stress” conditions. The level of mechanical stress is progressively increased by adjusting the difficulty (steepness of the slope) and speed. Our cardiologists use this test to help diagnose ischemic heart disease and get a better idea of the general physical condition of the patient by examining the heart rate response, blood pressure response, presence EKG changes, and the patient’s symptoms during the treadmill test.
MUGA (approximately 1 hour duration)
The MUGA scan (Multiple Gated Acquisition scan) is an extremely useful noninvasive tool for assessing the function of the heart when information on blood flow to the heart muscle is not required. The MUGA scan produces a moving image of the beating heart, and from this image several important features can be determined about the health of the cardiac ventricles (the heart’s major pumping chambers). The MUGA scan is a very useful tool in the measurement of left ventricle ejection fraction (LVEF) with a high degree of accuracy. Abnormalities in cardiac function can be demonstrated in patients with a low calculated LVEF and/or abnormalities in wall motion.
Imaging requires the use of a radioactive tracer to label the patients red blood cells. Using the Gamma Camera and the patient’s heart beat to “gate” the acquisition; the result is a series of images of the blood as is passes through the heart during one heartbeat.
You can find test instructions for each of these procedures under the Resources tab.
FCCI has five convenient Nuclear Cardiology Lab Locations:
Southside Office | Outpatient Catheterization & Sleep Labs
7011 AC Skinner Parkway, Ste 160
Jacksonville, FL 32256
9759 San Jose Boulevard, Ste 2
Jacksonville, FL 32257
3890 Dunn Avenue, Ste 203
Jacksonville, FL 32218
Orange Park Office
1681 Eagle Harbor Parkway East, Ste B
Orange Park, FL 32003
ST JOHNS COUNTY
St. Augustine Office
109 Whitehall Drive, Suite 117
St. Augustine, FL 32086
205 Zeagler Drive
Palatka, FL 32177