Peninsula Cardiology

Doctor holding heart

Nuclear Diagnostic Testing at Peninsula Cardiology

Nuclear Diagnostic Tests

The nuclear medicine department at Peninsula Cardiology utilizes gamma radiation to obtain vital cardiac information. There are three types of testing in the nuclear medicine department. They are Nuclear Stress Tests, MUGA Scans, and PET Scans.

To schedule a nuclear test please call 410-749-8906.

Nuclear Stress Tests

A Nuclear stress test is a way to determine if your heart muscle is getting the blood supply that it needs. This test will also evaluate how well your heart is working. To perform this test, a small amount of radioactivity will be injected through an IV. A special camera, gamma camera, is then able to take pictures of your heart. There are two ways to perform the stress portion of the test. First, an Exercise Tolerance Test is for patients who will be exercising on a treadmill. You will exercise until your target heart rate is achieved. The target heart rate will be based on your age. Second, is a chemical stress test for those patients that can't exercise on a treadmill. The medication that is used for this will cause dilation of the blood vessels.

MUGA Scans

MUGA tests are used to evaluate the ejection fraction of the heart. A small amount of radioactivity is also give through an IV. Pictures are obtained by the gamma camera. The pictures will allow the doctor to evaluate the amount of blood flow being distributed by the left ventricle of the heart.

Although radioactivity is used in all of these tests, it is safely cleared from your body by natural processes. You will be exposed to the same amount of radiation as in a simple X-ray or CAT (CT) scan. Millions of nuclear exams are safely performed each year.

PET Tests: Positron Emission Tomography Testing

Peninsula Cardiology Associates is proud to introduce our new Cardiac PET (Positron Emission Tomography) Scanner in our Nuclear Medicine Department. PET scans are non-invasive, painless procedures that help reveal the health of vessels supplying blood to the heart at significantly reduced radiation exposure compared to traditional imaging. PET scans can detect over 95% of patients who have significant blockages of coronary arteries. Our PET camera is the only dedicated cardiac PET camera on the Eastern Shore.

Patient Preparation Instructions

Nuclear Stress Testing and PET Scans

  • Fasting: 08:00 appointment - nothing to eat or drink, other than water, after midnight on the day of your test. 13:00 appointment- you may have a light breakfast before 07:00 with water, juice or milk. Do not eat or drink, other than water, after 07:00 on the day of your test.
  • No caffeinated, alcoholic beverages, decaffeinated coffee, tea, sodas, including caffeine free sodas and/or chocolate 24 hours prior to your test. Please remember that the following medicines contain caffeine and should NOT be taken on the day of your test: Anacin, Excedrin, or other caffeinated medications. **Regular Aspirin is permitted
  • Do not take your morning medications (including insulin) on the day of your test. Bring your medication bottles with you, as you will take your medications when allowed to eat
  • No Viagra, Levitra, or Cialis for 2 days (48 hours) prior to the day of your test
  • Bring food with you (preferably high fat such as a peanut butter sandwich, potato chips). You WILL NEED to eat at a designated time during the test. You may bring a caffeinated beverage with you if desired.

    **PET Testing- NO food is required for this test

  • Wear 2-piece comfortable clothing suitable for sitting a long period in cool temperatures. Wear shoes appropriate for walking. Do not wear panty hose or leggings. Do not wear large jewelry such as long necklaces or body jewelry. Also, do not wear shirts with metal or large buttons
  • Plan for your appointment to last 4-5 hours if you have a 08:00 a.m. appointment. Plan for 3-3.5 hours if you have a 1:00 p.m. appointment
  • PET- Please plan on 90 minutes for your PET stress test
  • Bring your insurance cards with you
  • Expect a call the day before your test to confirm the appointment

MUGA Testing

  • No preparation is needed for this test
  • Plan for the test to take 1.5-2 hours in duration

*All Nuclear Testing will be performed in the Salisbury Office at 400 Eastern Shore Drive. All Non-Emergency cancellations within 24 hrs of the test will be billed the cost of radioactive medicine.

**Please park in the rear of the building. Designated parking for all nuclear patients. The parking slots will be in front of the railroad tracks and Route 13.


Our Locations

Peninsula Cardiology Associates, PCA Primary Care and Peninsula Diabetes Management

Peninsula Cardiology Associates- Berlin Office

PCA Primary Care- Berlin Office