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Is nuclear stress test safe for an elderly?

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Posted on Thu, 20 Nov 2014
Question: How dangerous is a nuclear stress test for an 80 year old man?
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Answered by Dr. Ronald Schubert (41 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
Safe

Detailed Answer:
Thanks for contacting HCM

You are concerned about your 80 year old father having a stress nuclear test. These tests are deemed very safe. But the real question is why is he doing a stress test? At age 80 he more than likely he has angina and coronary artery disease. What is the purpose of the stress test? in my practice when ordering a test especially one that has risks I ask myself and my patient is the test going to change my plans? So is the stress test going to change plans for treatment. If he is a young 80 and a possible candidate for bypass surgery or cardiac catheterization then maybe having the test would help make a decision. If the test is only to see if he has cardiac disease then I don't see the reason. At age 80 he has more than likely cardiac heart disease and can be treated with medicine alone.

So the real question is do the benefits of the test out weight the risks? Is the test going to change the plans for his therapy?

Only he can make that decision.

Hope this answers your question. Please contact us again with your medical concerns and questions
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Bhagyalaxmi Nalaparaju
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Follow up: Dr. Ronald Schubert (1 hour later)
It's not my father, I am the 80 year old patient. I have artery valve stenosis and my last echocardiagram reported a "score" of 1.47, which pleased my family doctor. I have no angina, no shortness of breath. I am pretty active, sing in a choir, drive every day, handle chores around home, etc. My cardiologist says the nuclear stress test would show him more clearly exactly how advanced the stenosis is. Later this week, I'm having another echogram and will be fitted for one of those holster monitors to record 24 hour activity of my heart. I just feel jittery about a radioactive substance being injected into my veins and arteries. Is there any possibility that that can cause cancer or any other kind of damage to my organs?Can a nuclear stress test do any kind of damage to my organs? I am jittery about a radioactive substance being injected into my body. Cancer, for example.
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Answered by Dr. Ronald Schubert (51 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
Radioactive material low risk

Detailed Answer:
Thanks for clarifying your history. This gives me much more information and better understanding of the situation. Since the test is for aortic stenosis that is something that is more concerning and needs more monitoring. I agree with the stress test. The amount of radioactive material is low and you get just as much radiation exposure as you would during a cat scan. The chance for causing a cancer from the radioactive XXXXXXX is almost non-existent.

Hope this answers your question. Please contact us again with your medical concerns and questions
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Bhagyalaxmi Nalaparaju
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Answered by
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Dr. Ronald Schubert

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :1984

Answered : 2407 Questions

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Is nuclear stress test safe for an elderly?

Brief Answer: Safe Detailed Answer: Thanks for contacting HCM You are concerned about your 80 year old father having a stress nuclear test. These tests are deemed very safe. But the real question is why is he doing a stress test? At age 80 he more than likely he has angina and coronary artery disease. What is the purpose of the stress test? in my practice when ordering a test especially one that has risks I ask myself and my patient is the test going to change my plans? So is the stress test going to change plans for treatment. If he is a young 80 and a possible candidate for bypass surgery or cardiac catheterization then maybe having the test would help make a decision. If the test is only to see if he has cardiac disease then I don't see the reason. At age 80 he has more than likely cardiac heart disease and can be treated with medicine alone. So the real question is do the benefits of the test out weight the risks? Is the test going to change the plans for his therapy? Only he can make that decision. Hope this answers your question. Please contact us again with your medical concerns and questions