A cardiac perfusion
scan is a less invasive method than cardiac catheterization and angiography for
determining whether a person with moderate risk of coronary artery disease
(CAD) has the disease. For more information, see the medical tests
scans cannot distinguish an area of old injury (scar tissue) from a newer
injury caused by a recent heart attack.
A normal result can help
reassure a person with unexplained chest pain and an abnormal stress
electrocardiogram that there is not significant
coronary artery disease.
A few small areas of abnormal tracer
absorption may mean that only small areas of the heart muscle are not getting
enough blood flow. In this case, treatment with medicine may be an
A cardiac perfusion scan is often the first test done in
younger women (when the cause of chest pain is uncertain) after the medical
history and physical examination. This is because a simple stress
electrocardiogram is less accurate in younger women.
cardiologists believe that a stress echocardiogram
provides information similar to a cardiac perfusion scan. But a cardiac
perfusion scan may provide better information than a stress echocardiogram
about blood flow to the heart muscle. For more information, see the medical
Chernecky CC, Berger BJ (2008). Laboratory Tests and Diagnostic Procedures, 5th ed. St. Louis:
Fischbach FT, Dunning MB III, eds. (2009).
Manual of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests, 8th ed.
Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.
Klocke FJ, et al. (2003). ACC/AHA/ASNC guidelines for
the clinical use of cardiac radionuclide imaging-Executive summary. A report of
the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on
Practice Guidelines. Circulation, 108(11): 1404-1418.