Cardiac perfusion scan

This is a test to examine the blood supply to your heart muscle under stress conditions (similar to exercise) to see if there are any problems with the blood vessels supplying your heart muscle.

For the stress study, you will be asked to stop taking all caffeine for 24 hours. This is most important as caffeine will prevent the stress medicine from working and will result in a failed study. You may also be asked to stop some of your medication.

When you arrive we will put a small cannula (drip) into your arm and connect you to ECG and blood pressure monitors. During the stress test we will give you two injections, firstly of a medicine that simulates the effects of exercise and secondly of the radioactive material. This medicine may make you feel as though you are doing some exercise (for instance short of breath or flushed) but these feelings go away very quickly once the injection is finished.

After the stress test you will be asked to have some fatty food (e.g. a drink of milk) and will need to wait an hour before it is time for your images, during which time you can leave the department.

During the imaging procedure, we will attach ECG leads to your chest in order to monitor your heart rate and you will be required to lie on your back with your arms above your head while the gamma camera moves around your chest taking images. It will not go over your head, nor will you go through a tunnel.

After the images are completed, the technologist will check them and you will be able to go home. We will not be able to give you the result of the study immediately but a written report will be sent to the doctor who referred you. Occasionally we need some extra information and you might be required to return for a second appointment under resting conditions. There are no side effects from the test.