Did you have a Lexiscan? How did it go?
August 14, 2014 6:21 PM   Subscribe

My dad is going for a Lexiscan on Friday and the internet seems filled almost exclusively with horror stories. .

Last year, my dad went into sudden cardiac arrest during a treadmill stress test. He was revived and had a stent put in. He has been having some breathlessness when climbing stairs or lifting heavy items, so the cardiologist recommended another stress test. The idea of getting on another treadmill after he almost died last time, is scary to him, so the cardiologist recommended a Lexiscan. He has an appointment on Friday to get the test.

Has anyone here had a Lexiscan? If so, what was your experience like? I'm interested in both good and bad stories. I'm really anxious about him having this test and think it would be helpful to understand what to expect. I'm also interested in hearing from people who have had family members take this test.

Thank you.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (4 answers total)
I had stents put in following a nuclear stress test. 3 years later, I was on the treadmill for another test and felt tightness. I did not have a heart attack, but they did an angioplasty and put in 2 more stents. Last year, I asked my cardiologist about taking a chemically induced stress test rather than getting on the treadmill. While he said he would do it if I still wanted it after discussing it, he thought a treadmill was a better test in that it was gradient and it could be stopped at any time by me or him. He told me that they only use drug induced tests for patients who are unable to use the treadmill such as someone in a wheel chair or old and infirm.

I mentioned that I was apprehensive to go on the treadmill even though I ride my bike, walk and do body weight exercises because it...well...stresses me literally and emotionally. Using logic, he convinced me to try the treadmill again and just bail out at the first sign of any issue even if it is simply anxiety or worry. The bottom line he told me was that while he would do the Lexiscan, he felt that the treadmill was better. When describing the Lexiscan, he felt the risks were not such that he would not do it but he felt the risk reward was much better for the treadmill.

Bottom line is if your father had a heart attack and is now experiencing cardiac symptoms such as shortness of breath, putting stress on the system to see if there is an issue will have built in risk regardless of how it created, treadmill or pharms.

The question I had was which of my three alternatives was best. Not taking any test seemed like rolling the dice and was not an option for me. Based on my doctor's information, the treadmill provided the best information and was not more of a risk than the drug induced stress test. Since this is your dad's decision, make sure he understands the risks, knows the details of how he is going to get the best information.

I looked at it like this at the end of the day: Yes the treadmill lead to a heart incident that lead to stents, but I would much rather have had the incident in the doctor's office under monitored conditions with the hospital across the street than while I was doing something in the real world. I felt I personally was more in control with the treadmill because I could panic and get off if I so chose, but with the drug test, it was binary, I was either having the test or not.

I am not a doctor. I am a four stent heart patient.
posted by 724A at 7:57 PM on August 14, 2014 [1 favorite]

Not sure if you can as this is an anonymous question, but if you can, please let us know how your father did.
posted by 724A at 10:12 AM on August 15, 2014 [1 favorite]

Thanks for sharing your story 724A! I am the OP. I wanted to be anonymous in case something bad happened, but I am happy to report that the test went well. I'm still a bit wary of a chemically induced stress test, but my dad absolutely refused to get on another treadmill.

In case anyone in the future wants to read a positive story about a Lexiscan, it did go well for my dad. He said right after they injected the regadenoson, he felt extremely uncomfortable in the chest area for about 2 minutes. He didn't find anything else about the test particularly unpleasant, but you're basically at the hospital for 4 hours and my understanding is the the treadmill stress tests are a lot quicker.
posted by parakeetdog at 3:39 PM on August 15, 2014

Thank you parakeetdog. So glad to hear it went well and was a positive experience (as far as stress tests go).

The treadmill tests last about 12-18 minutes depending on your level of fitness. I think you max out at about 24 minutes. My doctor says he has one or three a year who are triathletes that complete the whole program.
posted by 724A at 8:32 PM on August 15, 2014

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