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Myocardial Perfusion Scan

What is a myocardial perfusion scan? 

Myocardial perfusion scan is used to evaluate coronary artery disease which is a narrowing of the blood vessels that supply oxygen to the heart muscle.

Under stress the heart may not receive enough oxygen at times and this may result in chest pain called angina or breathlessness.

The scan uses a small amount of radioactive substance (thallium or technitian) which can be used to produce pictures of your heart.

When the radionucliatide is injected into the blood stream it travels to the heart muscle through the coronary arteries. The process can be visualized by a special camera.

How do I prepare for the test? 

Do not eat or drink any products containing caffeine for 12 hours before the test. This includes coffee, tea, coca cola and chocolate. Do not eat anything for at least 4 hours before the test.

If you are diabetic however you may take medication for your diabetes and you may eat normally as you would. You may drink water at any time but you must not smoke for 3 hours before the test.

You should wear comfortable clothing and low heeled shoes or trainers so that you can walk on the treadmill.

What will happen during the test? 

We will normally ask you to walk on a treadmill or if you are unable to do so we will give you a medicine to simulate exercise.

Your heart rhythm will be monitored with an ECG and your blood pressure will be recorded at several times. The radionucliotide will be injected through a vein approximately 1 minute before you stop exercising.

You will then be asked to lie flat on a imaging table whilst a special camera circles slowly around your chest for about 30 minutes. You will be asked to stay in the department and not to exercise and 4 hours later the test will be repeated without any exercise.

The data from your test is processed and we would hope to have preliminary result within less than 24 hours.

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