This leaflet describes a type of heart scan known as a
myocardial perfusion scan. It is a nuclear medicine test that
looks at the blood supply to the muscles of your heart (the
The test is usually done in two parts. The stress scan is done
while your heart is working hard and the rest scan is done
while your heart is resting. The two parts of the scans are
both done on the same day. The two scans are compared to look for differences in
blood supply to your heart.
For this scan it is necessary to inject a small amount of radioactive tracer, called a
radiopharmaceutical. The small risk from this (similar to a CT scan) is outweighed by
the information that will be gained by taking the scan. A doctor will check the request
to make sure this is the appropriate test for you.
If you have any concerns or would like further information, please contact the
department where you are having your heart scan.
For female patients
If you know that you are pregnant, or there is any chance that you may be pregnant,
then please contact the Nuclear Medicine department, as this scan is not done for
pregnant females. Also contact the department if you are breast-feeding, as they may
give you special instructions.
The preparation required for this scan depends on the method that will be used for the
stress part. Hence, it is VERY important that you follow the instructions given by the
Nuclear Medicine department.
Have a light breakfast on the day of your scan but do NOT take anything containing
caffeine for 24 hours before your appointment. You must NOT drink coffee or tea,
Coca-Cola or diet coke or eat chocolate. Some over-the-counter medicines also
contain caffeine, so check the ingredients.
Some heart medicines (BETA BLOCKERS) that you may be taking can also interfere
with the test, so you may be asked to stop some of them temporarily for 48 hours.
For the stress part of the scan you may be asked to walk on a treadmill. Some ECG
electrodes will be attached to your chest to monitor your heart rate. The injection will be given while you are exercising. This is so that it shows the blood flow to your heart while it is working hard.
If you cannot walk, your heart can be stressed in other ways. You can be given a drug
that speeds up your heart and makes it beat stronger (Dobutamine), or a different
drug that opens up blood vessels in the heart (Adenosine). Both of these drugs
produce an effect on the blood flow to your heart similar to exercising.
The doctor in the Nuclear Medicine department will discuss this with you and explain
the best method for you.
A canula will be inserted into a vein in your arm or hand. A small amount of radioactive
tracer will be injected through this tube whilst you are being stressed.
The scan pictures will be taken after a while post-radiopharmaceutical injection.
The scans are taken by a special machine called a gamma camera. You will be asked
to lie flat on your back with your both arms above your head. The gamma camera will
move round your chest taking pictures all the time. This is often followed by a quick X-
ray CT scan while you are on the same bed. It is very important that you keep still. If
you think that you will find this difficult please speak to the nuclear medicine physician
during appointment. Taking the pictures lasts about 20 to 25 minutes.
The staff in Nuclear Medicine department will continuously monitor you while you
undergo this scan.
After the stress scan you will be re-injected at resting state and asked to wait in the
department. The rest part of the scan just involves the same sort of images as the
stress scan, but you will not have to exercise again.
It is very unlikely that you will feel any side-effects after the scan, but if you think that
you have please let the nuclear medicine department know. You may continue all your
normal activities unless you have been advised otherwise.
After your scan there will be some radioactivity left in your body but this will not present
a significant risk to other people around you. However, for the rest of the day, reduce
the time spent with pregnant women, babies and small children; but there is no need
to stop giving children essential love and care. The radioactivity in your body will
disappear over the next few days.
It is perfectly safe for you to travel abroad after your scan, but many airports and sea
ports are now equipped with very sensitive radiation detectors. So it is possible that
the small amount of radioactivity left in your body could set off a detector as you pass
through security. Therefore, if you intend to travel abroad within a month following your
scan, it could be helpful to take with you something to explain that you have recently
had a radionuclide heart scan. This could be your appointment letter or some other
official confirmation from our department.
You will receive the results at 5 PM in the evening on the day of your scan. The results
of the scan will also be conveyed provisionally to your referring physician. The report
will be accompanied with scan films.
*If you have any further questions, Please feel free to contact the Nuclear Medicine
Department, Manipal Hospitals, Dwarka on 011-41274257, 011-41274251 between 9
AM – 5 PM (Monday-Saturday).
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