Myocardial Perfusion Scan

This nuclear medicine stress test is also referred to as a Thallium, Cardiolite, Myoview, or Adenosine stress test. A myocardial perfusion scan is used to give your physician more accurate and complete information about how your heart is functioning. Your heart may function normally at rest, but under stress, such as when you are exerting yourself, you may have a decreased blood supply to your heart muscle. For this reason, a scan of your heart is made while you are resting, and then again after physical exertion, to look for any differences between the two.

What To Expect

For a myocardial perfusion scan, you should plan to spend three to four hours at our imaging center. When you arrive the technologist will ask you some questions about your symptoms, your family health history, your current health condition, and any medications you are taking.

An intravenous line will be placed in your arm for the entire procedure. An initial dose of radioactive tracer will be followed by a 20-minute scan of your heart. This will show the blood flow to your heart while you are at rest.

After the resting scan, you will walk on a treadmill, receive a medicine that mimics exercise, or both. Your electrocardiogram and blood pressure will be carefully monitored by a doctor and a nurse during this portion of the test. While the heart is being stressed, you will be given another dose of the radioactive tracer.

After the stress portion of your exam is complete, you will need to wait about 1 hour before the last set of images is taken. During this wait time, you may drink a caffeine-free beverage and have a light snack, if you wish.

Afterwards, you will be able to resume your normal activities and take your medications.

Patient Preparation

  • No food 4 hours prior. Water is OK.
  • Do not take any medications on the morning of the exam unless approved in advance.
  • Do not drink or eat any caffeinated products for 24 hours prior to the exam.
  • Bring with you a list of your current medications.
  • Wear loose, comfortable clothing and shoes suitable for walking on a treadmill.