Thallium Stress Test

Careful - Radioactive isotopes !TriathlonTrialLawyer Doug Landau’s doctor ordered a thallium stress test after recent difficulties breathing. The purpose of this procedure was to determine whether exercise causes a decreased blood flow to the heart muscle. If so, the doctors can determine whether the blood flow improves with rest. The testing also looks for disturbances in heart rhythm which may not be seen at rest.

Prior to the procedure, Doug had to be on his “best behavior.” He had to avoid caffeinated beverages, herbal tea, and not eat after midnight the night before. An intravenous (I.V.) line was inserted into his hand, his chest shaved and ECG wires hooked up to his chest. Herndon Reston area injury and disability lawyer Landauu then walked on a treadmill, with the technicians gradually increasing the speed and slope.

TriathlonTrialLawyer Doug Landau with ECG wiresUnlike the VO2 Max testing that Landau had undergone in the past, this test did not get close to his maximum heart rate or running speed. Also, Doug did not have to breathe through a tube and give hand signals. He was instructed to walk or jog until he experienced symptoms such as chest pain or shortness of breath, or until he was too tired to continue. As the technicians stopped the test when Landau’s heart rate reached only 161 BPM, Doug had not yet begun to sweat. They did this based upon the formula for maximum exertion (220 minus your age), even though Landau routinely races at heart rates higher than the “maximum” predicted by this formula developed for the general population, and not well-traiined endurance athletes.

Technicians were present throughout the entire test and monitored Landau’s blood pressure and ECG continuously. The thallium was then injected so that a radioactive isotope picture could be made of the inner workings of Landau’s heart. Thallium is an isotope which is “taken up” by the heart. It flows more easily through non-diseased and uninjured arteries and vessels. The thallium enables blood flow to be seen on a camera. Landau was placed on a table with scanners overhead. The pictures were taken and then analyzed on computer shortly after.

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