Sestamibi Myocardial Perfusion Scan

Evaluating blood flow to the heart.

A Sestamibi Myocardial Perfusion Scan measures the amount of blood being supplied to your heart. The scan is completed in two parts: at rest, sitting and breathing normally. And after a chemical or physical stress test – when your heart is beating faster after exercising on a treadmill or exercise bike.

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 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, located on the ground floor of North Shore Private Hospital in Westbourne St. Remember to bring loose clothes and comfortable walking or jogging shoes for walking on the treadmill.

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 asked to commence walking on a treadmill while the doctor carefully monitors your heart rhythm and performance. Near the end of the treadmill 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. In urgent cases, the result is sent by facsimile or given by telephone.

If you have any questions, please phone North Shore Radiology and Nuclear Medicine on (02) 8425 3684. We will be happy to answer any queries that you may have.


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