This scan helps to determine how well and how efficient your heart is pumping. This will help your doctor in managing your coronary artery disease (CAD), hypertension, heart transplant or pre- and post-chemotherapy treatment.
You will be given 2 injections. The second injection will be given about 20 minutes after the first. This will allow the tracer to bind to your blood and travel to your heart, where images of your heart pumping blood to your body's circulation will be taken. Small pads called electrodes are placed on your chest so that an electrocardiogram (ECG) can monitor your heart rhythm.
There is no special preparation before the procedure. During the procedure, it is essential to relax as this will keep your heart rhythm regular. This in turn will produce good images of your heart.
This procedure looks at the blood flow to the heart muscles during exercise and when you are resting. The radioactive compound injected through a vein is rapidly removed from the blood by cells of the heart muscle. The absence of radioactivity in a segment of the heart would indicate an area that has a lack of blood supply.
A small injection line will be set up on your wrist. You will then be asked to exercise on a treadmill during which your ECG, pulse and blood pressure will be monitored by the physicians in attendance. Towards the end of the exercise test, a small amount of the radioactive tracer will be given through the injection line.
For patients unable to exercise, certain medications are available, to provide alternative forms of 'stress'.
After a short interval, you will be told to lie down on an imaging couch and a Gamma Camera will be used to image your heart. This will take about 20 minutes, during which you will be required to lie absolutely still (except for normal breathing movements).
This scan will show the status of your heart muscle under 'stress' of the treadmill exercise. A second scan may be done separately, with the tracer injection given during the resting state. You will be informed if this 'rest' scan is necessary.