Myocardial Perfusion Scans

In most cases, you can take your regular medications. However, there are various cardiac (heart) medications that you will need to discontinue (for two days before the test), including Isoptin and Beta Blockers (including Inderal, Betaloc, Lopressor, Aptin, Tenormin, Visken). We will advise you which ones to cease and for how long. You may need to check with your doctor regarding the cessation of your medication.
You should not have anything to eat or drink (except for water) on the morning of your test. Do not have breakfast. Also, you should not have foods or drinks containing caffeine (including coffee, tea, chocolate, cola or cocoa) for 24 hours before your test. If you have diabetes and take insulin, you may have a light breakfast with half your morning insulin several hours before the test. Diabetic patients should ring and discuss this with one of our staff.

The total time of the test may take up to five hours.

After the test is explained to you, a technologist will insert a cannula and inject a small dose of radioactive sestamibi. Some 45 minutes later, you will be positioned under a specialised camera that scans your heart. This takes about half an hour. A doctor will further discuss the test with you before you are taken to the stress laboratory.

A technician will place several ECG dots on your chest in the stress laboratory and take your blood pressure. You will be stressed by either walking on a treadmill while the doctor carefully monitors your heart rhythm and performance, OR you will be injected with Adenosine, which will act in the same way to stress your heart. Near the end of the test, the doctor will give you an injection of another small dose of sestamibi through the cannula. About 15 minutes later, you will be positioned under the camera again for a similar set of scans of your heart. The total time of the test may take up to five hours.

Except for a metallic taste, you should not notice any side effects from the injection. Serious side effects from exercise are extremely rare. You will be closely monitored throughout the test.
You can drive home after the scan. You will not be drowsy in any way.
Computer analysis is done after the test. The results are sent to your referring doctor.

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