This test evaluates blood flow throughout the heart.

How to Prepare?

In most cases, you should take your normal medication. However, you may need to discontinue various cardiac (heart) medications as well as Persantin and several asthma drugs {Austyn, Elixophyllin, Neulin, Slo-Bid, Theo-dur}. We will advise you which medications to stop and for how long. If you are uncertain whether to cease any medication, please check with your doctor or call us. On the morning of the test do not take any caffeine containing medications (e.g. Cafergot, Migral, Ergodryvl).

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 are a diabetic 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 test will usually not be performed on pregnant women. If you know that you are (or think you might be) pregnant, please inform us before the test begins.

Please remember to bring your requesting letter and any recent X-rays or CT scans. At the time of your appointment, report to North Shore Radiology and Nuclear Medicine, which is located on the ground floor of North Shore Private Hospital in Westbourne St.

What to Expect?

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 which takes scans (pictures) of your heart. This takes about half an hour. A doctor will further discuss the test with you prior to you being taken to the stress laboratory. 

In the stress laboratory, a technician will place several ECG dots on your chest and take your blood pressure. The doctor will then inject Persantin through the cannula over several minutes (Persantin enlarges the arteries which supply blood into your heart). Your doctor will carefully monitor you during this period. A few minutes later the doctor will give you an injection of another small dose of sestamibi through the cannula. About 30-60 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 5 hours.

While most patients experience no side effects during the test, Persantin may cause nausea, headache, flushing or chest pain. These symptoms are usually mild and short lasting and relieved by medication. More serious side effects are extremely rare. The test is ususally not done if you have moderate to

severe asthma. If you have asthma please talk to your doctor or phone us before the day of the test.


You can drive home after the scan.  You will not be drowsy in any way.

You will not get your results on leaving the department. Computer analysis is done after the test. The results are sent to your referring doctor. In urgent cases the result is will be sent by facsimile or given by telephone.

Additional Information