What is a Myocardial Perfusion Scan?
This test is used to assess the blood flow to your heart wall muscle (myocardium) using a radioactive tracer. There are two parts: the ‘stress’ where the heart is stressed by exercise or medication and the ‘rest’ scan. The test identifies differences in the blood flow to your heart wall muscle between ‘stress’ and ‘rest’ that may be causing your symptoms.
What is this scan used for?
Myocardial perfusion scans can identify potential signs of coronary artery disease (CAD ), specifically obstruction. They are also used to look for heart attack damage.
How can I prepare for this procedure?
- There is no preparation for the rest part of the scan. You may eat and drink normally. For the stress scan, do not eat or drink anything containing caffeine (including tea, coffee, cocoa, chocolate, coke or diet coke, ‘energy drinks’ etc. even if it is said to be ‘decaffeinated’) from 9 pm the night before.
- Please let us know which medication you are on ahead of the scan and should your medication change, let us know before you attend.
What happens during the procedure?
- * For the stress part of the procedure, a blood pressure cuff and some ECG stickers will be attached to you. A small needle, called a cannula, will be inserted into a vein in your arm or hand. A brief medical assessment will be carried out and an explanation of the test will be given by the Nuclear Medicine Consultant.
- He/She will decide if the test will be carried out on a treadmill or chemically, depending on your physical capability and medical condition.
- * Both the stress and rest parts of the test involve the injection of a radioactive tracer followed by a scan
approximately one hour later. For the scan you will lie on the bed with both your arms (if possible)
supported above your head. The camera detectors move slowly around your chest for about half an hour.
Paying for your procedure
The costs of a myocardial perfusion scan are covered by most medical insurance policies, but please check with your insurer first. If you are paying for your own scan, please ask for the cost of the procedure to be explained when you book the appointment.