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Dual Isotope Stress Test

A dual isotope or thallium stress test is a nuclear medicine study that is ordered by your doctor. This test helps your physician in determining if you have a blockage in one or more of the arteries around your heart. This exam also allows your physician to visualize whether there has been any damage done to your heart by any problems you may have had previously.

The material used to visualize your heart is a radioisotope. This is not a contrast agent that causes allergic responses in some people. A radioisotope is a radioactive material that is bound with a specific agent that targets a certain area of the body. A nuclear gamma camera is then used to identify the radioactive material and place it on an image for the physician to read. The radiation received to you during this test is very minimal. It is about the same level as a CT scan would be. The radioisotopes naturally decay over time. They are removed from the body through your urine. It is recommended that after the test you drink plenty of fluids to speed this process up and to decrease the amount of radiation exposure you receive.