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What Are the Risks of a Nuclear Heart Scan?

The radioactive tracer used during nuclear heart scanning exposes the body to a very small amount of radiation. No long-term effects have been reported from these doses.

Radiation dose might be a concern for people who need multiple scans. However, advances in hardware and software may greatly reduce the radiation dose people receive.

Some people are allergic to the radioactive tracer, but this is rare.

If you have coronary heart disease, you may have chest pain during the stress test while you're exercising or taking medicine to raise your heart rate. Medicine can relieve this symptom.

If you're pregnant, tell your doctor or technician before the scan. It might be postponed until after the pregnancy.

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Nuclear Heart Scan Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are research studies that explore whether a medical strategy, treatment, or device is safe and effective for humans. To find clinical trials that are currently underway for Nuclear Heart Scan, visit

March 09, 2012 Last Updated Icon

The NHLBI updates Health Topics articles on a biennial cycle based on a thorough review of research findings and new literature. The articles also are updated as needed if important new research is published. The date on each Health Topics article reflects when the content was originally posted or last revised.