Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) Expert Forum
Efficacy of Nuclear Stress Tests
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Questions in the Peripheral Arterial Disease forum are answered by Dr. Lee Kirksey, associate professor at The University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Topics covered include abdominal aortic aneurysm , amputation, arteriovenous fistula, atherectomy, carotid artery surgery , cholesterol , claudication, deep vein thrombosis (DVT) , endovascular aortic stent graft (EVAR), stent placement , stroke prevention, varicose veins , and venous insufficiency .

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Efficacy of Nuclear Stress Tests

I am a 62-yr. old woman who was suffering from extreme fatigue as my primary complaint.  I won't go into all the boring details, but it took some effort on my part to convince my doctors that I was concerned about my heart. I was given a nuclear stress test. My cardiologist said it showed no problems except that the bottom of my heart was beating slower than the top of my heart. He said he couldn't see it well on test results because of a shadow, but that if I wanted to look into it further that I should let him know. He did not sound concerned, so I was not going to push him any further. But another doctor I know strongly recommended that I follow up. So I did. The subsequent heart catherization  showed three major blockages: 100%, 85%, and 70+%. It also showed that I had had a heart attack in the lower portion of my heart. I had triple bypass beating heart surgery in September; all went well, and I healed quickly. My question is: Why did my nuclear stress test show nothing wrong? Are false negatives common? Where can I get more information on this topic?  Thank you for your help.
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Hello
Im glad your surgery went well. Im not certain that I understand your question. From what I read, your stress test was not normal. In fact your doctor told you that he could not see one area because of a shadow. I think your case is more of an example of why it is sometimes helpful to seak a second opinion. Two heads are better than one.

There is a false negative rate on stress test however what you describe is not a false negative. It is an inconclusive test that fortunately was followed by a more conclusive study.

Best of health
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