A nuclear stress test is generally safe, and complications are rare. But, as with any medical procedure, it does carry a risk of complications.

Potential complications include:

  • Allergic reaction. It's possible you could be allergic to the radioactive dye that's injected into a vein in your hand or arm during a nuclear stress test.
  • Low blood pressure. Blood pressure may drop during or immediately after exercise and cause dizziness. It usually goes away when you stop exercising.
  • Abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias). Arrhythmias brought on by an exercise stress test usually go away shortly after you stop exercising. Life-threatening arrhythmias are rare and usually occur in individuals with severe heart disease.
  • Heart attack (myocardial infarction). Although very rare, it's possible that a nuclear stress test could cause a heart attack.
  • Flushing sensation or chest pain. These symptoms can occur when you are given a medication to stress your heart if you're unable to exercise adequately. These symptoms are usually brief, but tell your doctor if you experience them.
Dec. 08, 2011