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Medical Associates "An Outpatient Center of Excellence"

Cardiac Nuclear Imaging

What is Cardiac Nuclear Imaging?

Cardiac nuclear imaging is also called a perfusion scan. It is a way of checking blood flow through the muscle (or walls) of your heart. To do this, a tracer (a small amount of radioactive matter) is given to you through a vein in your arm. A camera scans the tracer in the blood as it flows through your heart muscle. This test may be done before, during, or after exercise. If you cannot exercise, a drug is used to substitute/simulate exercise.

How Do I Prepare?

Please click here to get information on how to prepare.

What Happens During the Test?

When you arrive for the test, a technician or nurse will place an IV port in your arm. This will be the access point to inject the nuclear medicine. The nuclear medicine will be injected, and about 30 minutes worth of heart scanning will be performed. This is called the resting scan. It is at this point where there may be a long wait up to, and sometime more than, 2 hours, while all of the other patients scheduled receive their resting scan. Once every patient on our schedule has had their first scan, the exercise portion of the test will begin. This involves walking on a treadmill. If you cannot walk, a medication, called Persantine, will be injected into the I.V. port; this simulates the stress test, and will make the heart beat faster. At a given point, the nuclear medicine will be injected again. Once the second injection is given, you will be moved momentarily to the scanner to get your second scan, the stress scan. Your two scans will later be compared and correlated with your exercise portion of the test.

Report Any Symptoms of the Following:

Be sure to tell your physician if you feel any of the following during the test:

  • Chest, arm, or jaw discomfort
  • Dizziness
  • Leg cramps or pain

Let the Technologist Know:

  • what medicines you take.
  • if you are diabetic, have knee or hip problems, arthritis, asthma, or chronic lung disease.
  • if you have had a stroke or have vascular disease of the leg.
  • if you are pregnant, think you might be, or are nursing.

Test Instructions