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Nuclear Stress Test, Blood Pressure Drop to 90, Extra Heart Beats

  • 1.  Nuclear Stress Test, Blood Pressure Drop to 90, Extra Heart Beats

    Posted 03-05-2020 18:36

    I joined this group when I found ought I had an aortic root aneurysm of 4 cm.

    My friends told me "Smile, it could be worse".  So I smiled, and things got worse.

    I was having a very slight shortness of breath after running several miles and a very mild discomfort on the left side of my chest.  It was not bad enough to stop running, it just prevented me from running faster.  If I stopped to walk for a minute, I felt back to normal and could run faster.

    My cardiologist ordered a Nuclear Stress Test.  After 7 minutes on the treadmill, my blood pressure supposedly dropped to 92.  The monitor was put on again and it was 89.  The EKG showed I had an extra heartbeat, maybe 6 beats.  The cardiologist called it non-sustained ventricular tackycardia.  The nuclear imaging was totally normal and showed no blockages or problems.  My cardiologist said the nuclear imaging gives false negatives 15% of the time.

    The cardiologist now wants me to have a heart catherization to see if there are blockages, and where they are.  He claims the aortic root aneurysm of 4 cm would not cause these results unless a valve was bleeding badly and it is not.  His guess is that the heart cath will come back normal.

    First of all, I felt absolutely nothing when my blood pressure supposedly dropped from 160 to 90 in the seventh minute of the stress test.  My cardiologist said some people may not feel anything.  I find this hard to believe.  I think maybe the monitor slipped down my arm.

    My CT scan with contrast showed mild to moderate atherosclerosis.  The nuclear imaging was supposed to show how bad the plaque was and where it is was blocking.  However, it showed all was good.

    Does anyone have thoughts on or experiences with:

    Blood pressure dropping from 160 to 90, and also not feeling anything?

    Non-sustained ventricular tackycardia during exercise?

    Nuclear imaging during stress tests being totally normal?

    Heart catherizations?

    Any other thoughts or experiences on the above?

    Thanks a million.


    John Walters

  • 2.  RE: Nuclear Stress Test, Blood Pressure Drop to 90, Extra Heart Beats

    Posted 03-06-2020 08:42
    John, the heart cath is the gold standard for determining heart health.  20 years ago I was passing my stress test on my annual company physical with no problems.   Luckily i had an open mri of the heart that showed severe calcification in the vessels around the heart.  Then, I had a heart cath that showed many blockages requiring 5 way bypass surgery to save my life. The doctor even had me go and do the nuclear stress test 2 days before my surgery to see what it would show and I passed the test with flying colors. Stress test are not very reliable.
    If I were you, I would do the cath for peace of mind.  They do millions of them every year and it is a simple procedure. They have much improved stent technology these days that avoids much of the surgery.  If surgery is required, I am living proof that one can get back to a completely normal life as I am enjoying now over 19 years later!
    You are welcome to call with any non medical questions.
    Good luck and Godspeed,
    Gary Price
    Mended Hearts Visiting Ambassador, Orlando Chapter 296

    Gary Price
    Sanford FL

  • 3.  RE: Nuclear Stress Test, Blood Pressure Drop to 90, Extra Heart Beats

    Posted 03-06-2020 09:54


    Thank you greatly.

    Did they do your bypass surgery the same day as your heart cath?

    Best regards,

    John Walters

  • 4.  RE: Nuclear Stress Test, Blood Pressure Drop to 90, Extra Heart Beats

    Posted 03-07-2020 07:09
    John, I second Gary's advice.  I am a life long gym rat with no symptoms whatsoever, other than medically controlled hypertension, when I had a mild heart attack at age 67 and a cardiac cath disclosed that I had severe blockages of 5 coronary arteries including the left anterior descending coronary artery (the widowmaker).  I had emergency quintuple bypass surgery the next day.

    When I say that I had no symptoms beforehand, I'm telling you that immediately before the heart attack, I was doing heavy dumbbell presses, deadlifts, weighted dips and pullups, "farmer walks", and taking regular power walks.  I felt great and a cardiologist friend of mine told me, after the fact, at how shocked he was by my heart attack because I had walked him into the ground returning home from a recent New Year's Eve dinner.

    In short, you won't know anything for sure until you get the heart cath.


    Ira Reid
    Hoboken NJ

  • 5.  RE: Nuclear Stress Test, Blood Pressure Drop to 90, Extra Heart Beats

    Posted 03-09-2020 14:27

    Heart caths are a piece of cake. My first one revealed all my blockages and resulted in my CABG X3.

    That was a year ago and I'm getting back to normal. I'm actually going to have another heart cath later this month to check things out and make sure everything is working well.

    Good luck to you sir.


    Craig Ellis
    Bremerton WA