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Chemical stress test today due to abnormal pre-op EKG

techgurl1988ttechgurl1988 Posts: 108
edited 06/11/2012 - 9:02 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hey there forum, it's me the new comer who has been reading every post to try and glean information that might help me.:)

I was scheduled for a MIS TLIF on May 7th, but pre-op EKG came back abnormal as did subsequent test by cardiologist that I was sent to on May 4th.

So today I go in for my chemical stress test. I am NERVOUS! But thankfully someone else here In the forums went through the same thing and documented it beautifully in a thread from 2010 (http://www.spine-health.com/forum/treatment/back-surgery-and-neck-surgery/my-meltdown-pre-surgery-now-i-have-do-a-stress-test) so I am feeling better. Most of the veterans here told the poster not to worry, that many people have abnormal EKG's and that it doesn't mean anything more serious is happening with your heart. They also said its good to get a baseline EKG now that will help docs later if you happen to have heart trouble years down the line.

I suppose I am posting a new thread because there might be someone else out there who has recently been told the same thing or gone through this test? Or maybe I am looking for some cyber hand holding. :D.

I leave at 12PM CST. I will come back and report on the same thread my experience so it can be of use to someone else. I guess if I don't you'll know why LOL J/K :lol:" alt=":lol:" height="20" />

Grade 4 tear in l4/l5 was missed in first MRI so did injections for a year
SI joints "messed up" not sure if I will get them fused at a later time
Had Open PLIF L4/L5 5/28/13
Woke up to permanent nerve damage in legs and feet.


  • I've been through one myself. Its not really a big deal.
  • I've had about 5 of them over the years. Different places do them differently and other then a queasy feeling for a short period of time there is nothing to them. Gotta have a IV put in is the only downside to me.
  • So for future forum readers, I thought I would give some detail as to how the chemical (nuclear) stress test went .

    12:45 pm First got an IV in my hand while the tech explained what would be happening. She started the IV and put a radioactive solution in the IV.

    1pm -She told me to go sit back in the waiting room to let the medication circulate in my system for about 30 min.
    1:35 pm -She took me back to the same place. I disrobed from the waist up which she told me if my shirt didn't have buttons, they would have let me keep it on. Instead I donned a lovely hospital gown. First I was put on a skinny table and digital images were taken of my heart. This part was ok but I was not happy with the techs bed side manner.  She didn't  prepare me for what was going to happen here, she didn't help me get on to the table and didn't have consideration for my back issues which she knew about. 

     The table was hard but they did provide me with a pillow for my head and knees. She then walked away and I thought "Ok she will be back to tell me what is about to happen." Nope this machine next to me like an xray machine moved and clacked and I was there for about 15 min staring at the ceiling. At this point I logically deduced she was taking digital X-rays however I had no idea how long it would take which when you are a patient, is really important to understand how long you will be holding your hands above your head and holding still...but I digress.

    2pm-They took me into another room and hooked me up to the ECG with electrodes (embarrasing if you are large breasted woman, but think of it like having a mammogram where they just move the girls every which way lol-guys pretend you didn't read that!). Then she explained she was giving me the "isotope". 

    Immediately I felt short of breath but not like I couldnt breath, just panting. It was more like I had been walking briskly in the park for 20 min only it had been 20 seconds.

    Then I had this weird metallic taste/ smell that came from my lungs. Very weird sensation. The smell and taste was not outside, it felt like it was literally coming from my lungs.  Luckily it died down or I would have gotten nautious. Then my legs got warm and tingly and my ears got hot. I could feel sweat beading up on my brow and I don't sweat even with heavy excursion so that was weird. As fast as it started, it subsided. The whole thing lasted 1 min and 52 seconds. Yes I timed it lol

    Then they gave me a sip of cafeine which they said counteracts the isotope. I had diet Dr. Pepper. A few sips and I was burping, which they said was normal. She removed my IV and told me I could leave and come back at 3pm. 

    2:13pm - Instead I stayed since hubby had left and I had brought me a lunch as their procedure handout had explained I could. I sat in a back waiting-room to eat lunch. She told me she would come get me at 3:15 to give the food time to digest. I watched The lucy show (not to be confused with I love Lucy ) and ate a turkey sandwich. 

    Honestly I felt a little queasy after I ate the sandwich  but it probably had more to do with my blood sugar and bile salts problems.

    At 3:15 she took me back to the same skinny table and took the  same digital X-rays of my heart.  She then told me I was free to put my top back on and checkout. 

    All together I would have to say that it wasn't that big of a deal. However, while I was laying there On the skinny table the last time started to think about having this major surgery and it almost started a panic attack which would have been really really bad. Luckily I was able to get my mind off of it and I was ok. My legs feel a little week now but my head feels fine, my chest feels fine. I think my leg problem is related to my back problem. 

    Now I just wait for a phone call I guess!

    Grade 4 tear in l4/l5 was missed in first MRI so did injections for a year
    SI joints "messed up" not sure if I will get them fused at a later time
    Had Open PLIF L4/L5 5/28/13
    Woke up to permanent nerve damage in legs and feet.
  • Your story reminds me of a cat scan with contrast I had recently. The tech was a hottie (yes, at 63 I can still say things like that)and was very diligent, explaining to me what would happen during the test. He said when he started the contrast I would feel very hot, but he would warn me when that would happen. I then asked him, could he please say, "Linda, you're hot!" He smiled at my request, but when the time came he announced: Linda, you are HOT! H-O-T!

    Sometimes you just have to have a little fun during these anxiety-ridden procedures!
  • Just wanted to update this post. Shortly after writing it I started experiencing the same "flsuhing" I had during the test. It was about 4 hours after the test. It was like someone was holding a hair dryer on hot directly on my sternum, then it radiated under and across each breast down the inside of both arms. It was not brief, it lasted all night (I was miserable). The next day the cardio said no way was it from the test and didn't even want to see me, said "Go see your PCP for anxiety". Yeah, to say the least, I was not happy. I began to freak out because it woudn't go away but by the time I heard back from the cardiologist, it was late Friday and all doctors closed. I waited until Saturday and went to urgent care.

    They said I was experiecing ischemia and sent me to the ER via ambulance. Ambulance confirmed same on their EKG, as did the hosp, but the ER doc said "Well in looking at the fact that you passed your stress test, and the EKG seems similiar, I dont think it is your heart". He also ran blood work and told me I had no signs of having a heart attach. Well 2 doctors visits and another ER trip later, I am still experiencing this severe burning sensation if I don't take pain meds. I wrote a more detailed post here http://www.spine-health.com/forum/pain/upper-back-pain-thoracic/t6-t7-thoracic-cause-burning-pain-upper-backtriceps to explain all the things they have tested me for and how they told me it was anxiety and started me on xanax which didnt help.

    I started researching the drug they give for the nuclear stress test called Lexiscan, and it is known to cause transient eschemia. The doctors didnt tell me that. Here I am 10 days later with a different problem, canceled surgery, and still in pain. I canceled the surgery. Something tells me when three things get in the way and a surgery date is pushed back 3 times, now this new pain, I think the big GUY in the sky might be trying to tell me something. Not saying I wont have surgery later, but now is not right.

    Grade 4 tear in l4/l5 was missed in first MRI so did injections for a year
    SI joints "messed up" not sure if I will get them fused at a later time
    Had Open PLIF L4/L5 5/28/13
    Woke up to permanent nerve damage in legs and feet.
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