Risks

A nuclear stress test is generally safe, and complications are rare. As with any medical procedure, there is a risk of complications, including:

  • Allergic reaction. Though rare, you could be allergic to the radioactive dye that's injected during a nuclear stress test.
  • Abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias). Arrhythmias brought on during a stress test usually go away shortly after you stop exercising or the medication wears off. Life-threatening arrhythmias are rare.
  • Heart attack (myocardial infarction). Although extremely rare, it's possible that a nuclear stress test could cause a heart attack.
  • Dizziness or chest pain. These symptoms can occur during a stress test. Other possible signs and symptoms include nausea, shakiness, headache, flushing, shortness of breath and anxiety. These signs and symptoms are usually mild and brief, but tell your doctor if they occur.
  • Low blood pressure. Blood pressure may drop during or immediately after exercise, possibly causing you to feel dizzy or faint. The problem should go away after you stop exercising.