Nuclear Medicine

What is Cardiolite?

Nuclear MedicineCardiolite is an imaging agent used in stress tests to see how well blood is flowing to and through your heart. Cardiolite is radioactive. You will be injected with a small amount of Cardiolite and a special camera will take pictures of your heart. The test usually consists of taking pictures of your heart in two phases: a stress phase and a resting phase. The test is given in our office at 3100 Blue Ridge Road, Raleigh, NC, and normally takes 2 to 4 hours to complete.

Stress phase of the test

The staff will place a small IV line in your arm. During the test, you will be injected with medicine through this IV line. You may also have small pads (electrocardiogram or ECG electrodes) attached to your body, that will allow the staff to monitor your heart rate.

For the last part of the stress phase, you will be lying down in a chair while a type of camera called a gamma camera takes images of your heart. The camera “sees” the Cardiolite in your heart and uses it to help create the pictures of your heart.


  1. Please expect to be at Wake Internal Medicine Consultants for 3-4 hours.
  2. DO NOT TAKE beta-blockers for at least 72 hours before your test. Please see below for the list of beta blockers. Please continue all other medicines that you take on a daily basis. Diabetic patients see #4.
  3. YOU MUST DRINK at least 2 cups (16 ounces) of water before you arrive to facilitate starting your IV. It can be difficult to start an IV when a person is dehydrated.
  4. Do not EAT after midnight prior to the test unless your appointment is after 9 a.m., then you may have a light breakfast (toast, cereal, bagel, etc). It is still okay to brush your teeth if you are fasting. If you ARE diabetic and take medicine for diabetes, only take ½ of the diabetes medicine on the day of the test with a light breakfast EVEN IF YOUR APPOINTMENT IS BEFORE 9 a.m.
  5. NO CAFFEINE. This includes DECAFFEINATED COFFEE, TEA, AND SODA for at least 24 hours before the test!! Remember that chocolate, over-the-counter cold and headache medicines and diet pills may contain caffeine. Headache medicines without caffeine are okay.
  6. NO SMOKING 12 hours prior to the test.
  7. Take your usual shower or bath, but DO NOT apply lotion or powder to your chest or arms. Deodorant is allowed. Please do not wear any perfume or cologne as others may be allergic to them.
  8. Wear comfortable clothes and walking shoes. If your shirt has buttons, make sure they are non-metallic and small. Do not wear any kind of necklace.
  9. You must eat and drink after the stress portion of the procedure is complete so be sure to bring a snack. This is a lengthy exam. Bring a jacket if you get cold easily and bring something to read.

ABOUT THE TEST: An IV will be inserted in your arm for the administration of a small amount of radioactive material which will allow visualization of your heart. We will then take a series of pictures while you are lying still in a recliner chair. A treadmill stress test will be done after this time or if you are unable to exercise on the treadmill a drug can be given through the IV to cause your heart rate to simulate exercise. After the stress portion, another picture will be taken.

Please let us know at least 48 hours in advance if you are unable to keep your appointment. Due to the inability of Wake Internal Medicine to return the radioactive material needed for your stress test, WE WILL CHARGE A $250.00 FEE FOR A MISSED APPOINTMENT.

Beta Blockers-Please DO NOT take these Medications 72 hours BEFORE Your Stress Test!

Generic Name

Brand Name

Atenolol Tenormin
Carvedilol Coreg
Metoprolol Lopressor, Toprol XL
Nadolol Corgard
Propanolol Inderal, Innopran XL
Timolol Blocadren
Labetalol Normodyne/Trandate
Betapace Sotalol
Diltizem Cardizem
Nebivolol Bystolic
Penbutolol Levatol
Acebutolo Sectral
Bisoprolol Zebeta
Pindolol Visken
Verapamil Calan