How To Prepare continued...
Do not eat or drink for at least 3 hours before a cardiac perfusion scan. If you are having a stress scan, avoid alcohol, tobacco, caffeinated beverages, and nonprescription medicines for at least 24 hours before the test.
Wear comfortable shoes and loose shorts or pants suitable for exercise. Remove all jewelry before the test.
Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have regarding the need for the test, its risks, how it will be done, or what the results may mean. To help you understand the importance of this test, fill out the medical test information form(What is a PDF document?).
How It Is Done
A cardiac perfusion scan is usually done in a hospital radiology or nuclear medicine department, a doctor's office, or at an outpatient clinic. The test is done by a doctor and technologist trained in nuclear medicine.
For resting scans, in which you do not exercise, you will be asked to remove your clothing above the waist, and you will be given a hospital gown to wear. Electrodes might be attached to your chest to keep track of your heartbeats.
You will have a very thin tube, called an IV, going into your arm or hand. A small amount of the radioactive tracer will be put in the IV.
You will lie on your back on a table with a large camera positioned above your chest. The camera records the tracer's signals as it moves through your blood. The camera does not produce any radiation, so you are not exposed to any additional radiation while the scan is being done.
You will be asked to remain very still during each scan, which takes 5 to 10 minutes. The camera will move to take more pictures at different angles. Several scans will be taken.
The entire test takes 30 to 40 minutes, after which you can resume your normal activities.
Stress scan using medicine
The stress scan is done in two parts. In many hospitals, the first images are taken while the person is at rest. Then a second set of images is taken after the person is given a medicine such as adenosine, which makes the heart respond like it would to exercise. Sometimes the stress scan is done first and the resting scan might be done the next day.