Adenosine Stress Electrocardiography

An adenosine stress electrocardiography is a test used to detect heart disease (coronary artery disease). Adenosine is a medicine that makes the heart arteries react as if you are exercising. Adenosine is given with a radioactive tracer. The "tracer" is a safe radioactive substance that travels in the bloodstream to the heart arteries. Special imaging cameras detect the tracer and help find blocked arteries in the heart. This test may be done with or without treadmill exercise and may take around 3–4 hours.


  • Allergies, including latex allergies.

  • All prescription medicines you taking as well as all non-prescription and over-the-counter medicines, including herbs and vitamins.

  • Use of steroids (by mouth or creams).

  • Previous problems with anesthetics or novocaine.

  • History of blood clots or bleeding problems.

  • Previous surgery.

  • Other health problems such as kidney or lung conditions.

  • Possibility of pregnancy, if this applies.


You may develop chest discomfort, shortness of breath, sweating, or lightheadedness during the test. On rare occasions, you could experience a heart attack or your heart may go into a very fast or irregular rhythm. This could cause you to collapse. To ensure your safety, your caregiver will supervise the test. Your blood pressure and electrocardiogram are constantly watched. The test team watches for, and is able to treat any problems.


  • Do not eat or drink caffeine for 12 to 24 hours before the test. This includes all caffeinated beverages and food, such as pop, coffee (roasted, instant, decaffeinated roasted, decaffeinated instant), hot chocolate, tea, and all chocolate.

  • Do not smoke on the day of your test. Smoking on the day of your test may change your test results.

  • Do not eat anything 3 hours before the test or as recommended by your caregiver.Eating may cause an unclear image and may also cause nausea. If you are diabetic, talk to your caregiver regarding your insulin coverage.

  • Bring a list of all the medicines you are taking. Take your medicine as usual before the test except as told by the testing center.

  • Wear comfortable clothing, such as a short sleeve shirt and sweat pants. Do not wear an underwire bra or jewelry. A hospital gown can be provided.

  • Shower before your appointment to reduce the spread of bacteria.

  • You may want to bring a book to read because there are some waiting periods during the test.

  • Your caregiver will go over the adenosine stress test with you, such as procedure protocol, what to expect, how long it will take and results.


  • An IV will be started in a vein in your hand or arm.

  • Electrode patches will be placed on your chest. The electrodes are connected to a monitor so your heart rhythm and heart rate can be watched. Your blood pressure will also be monitored during the test.

  • Two sets of images are usually taken of your heart. The images compare your heart at rest and when it is "stressed." This first image is a "resting" picture of your heart. The "resting" image is usually done before adenosine is given.

  • Adenosine is given in the IV over a period of 4 to 6 minutes.

  • After the adenosine is given, you will be monitored for a few minutes afterwards to ensure your heart rate, heart rhythm, and blood pressure are normal.


When your test is completed, you may be asked to schedule an office visit with your caregiver to discuss the test results, or your caregiver may choose to call you with the results.