Heart Information Center
Ask a Heart Doctor
  Back to previous page


Help us improve this service.

Your feedback will help guide us in developing this site.

Ask a Texas Heart Institute Doctor 
Informed patients make better patients.


Does breast tissue prevent obtaining an accurate result from a nuclear stress test?

I hope you can help me understand the reasoning of a doctor of a friend. She had a treadmill stress test recently, and learned it came back abnormal. I did suggest if they are concerned about the heart muscle and function, that maybe a nuclear stress test could be ordered when she saw her doctor to review the results in person. Her doctor told her that he would not order one because she has breast tissue and that would be in the way of the left wall.

I understand the idea there is attenuation and other tests need to be considered, as I am nuclear medicine tech, but to say no entirely simply because she has breast tissue confuses me. I have had many, very large, and very large breasted, women scanned. Is it normal for a doctor to say that? He left her a little upset (since she does have issues with her ankle, which she has a handicap sign for) with what sounded like an ultimatum, another treadmill stress test or do a heart cath. 

I'm just curious about the reasoning than anything else. No medical advice needed, just help in understanding.

submitted by Amy from Lancaster, Pennsylvania on 4/24/2014


Atasu K. Nayak, MDby Texas Heart Institute cardiologist, Atasu Nayak, MD    

Thanks for the question.  If she has typical angina, then she should go for a coronary angiogram. Otherwise, treadmill nuclear study to rule out significant ischemic heart disease. Please encourage her to consult her cardiologist. Thanks. 

See also on this site:  

Has your question or a similar one already been answered?
Search all the Heart Doctor questions and answers.

To search for a doctor or access St. Luke's physician referral service, use the "Find a Doctor" link at the top of this page.

Updated May 2014
Texas Heart Institute Heart Information Center
Through this community outreach program, staff members of the Texas Heart Institute (THI) provide educational information related to the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cardiovascular disease. It is not the intention of THI to provide specific medical advice, but rather to provide users with information to better understand their health and their diagnosed disorders. Specific medical advice will not be provided and THI urges you to visit a qualified physician for diagnosis and for answers to your questions.
Like us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Subscribe to us on YouTube Find Us on Flicikr Follow Us on Pinterest Add us on Google+

Please contact our Webmaster with questions or comments.
Terms of Use and Privacy Policy
© Copyright 1996-2014 Texas Heart Institute.
All rights reserved.
This website is accredited by Health On the Net Foundation. Click to verify. U.S. NEWS America's Best Hospitals 2013-14