The test is done in two parts, resting and stress (exercise). If you are unable to exercise, your doctor may combine the nuclear imaging material with a medication called Lexiscan. Lexiscan increases blood flow in your coronary arteries. Healthy arteries respond more than diseased arteries to Lexiscan. The scan shows the areas of your heart that are supplied by healthy arteries and those that may be blocked or narrowed.
What will the pictures show?
After the injection, the nuclear imaging material travels through your bloodstream to your heart. The nuclear imaging material gives off a small amount of radiation. A special camera picks up this radiation. Any areas of your heart that are diseased (because of blocked or narrowed arteries) will not pick up as much nuclear material as healthy arteries. The computer processes these images to show areas where your blood flow is decreased. These areas are called defects. Your cardiologist analyzes these pictures.
How is the test done?
The test is done in two parts, resting and stress (exercise). After the technician injects the nuclear imaging material through an IV line in your arm, the material takes 30 minutes to circulate through your bloodstream. You rest comfortably during this time. After the circulation time, the technician completes the first scan. This takes about 15 minutes.
Next, the technician injects Lexiscan through the IV line. You will either walk slowly on a treadmill (if you are able) or rest on a bed or chair. The technician injects more nuclear imaging material. The material takes another 30 minutes to circulate through your bloodstream. You rest comfortably during this time. After the circulation time, the technician completes the second scan. This takes another 15 minutes.
During both scans, a camera rotates around your chest while you lie still. These two scans help your doctor determine if any defects are temporary or permanent because of earlier heart damage.
How do I prepare?
Talk with your doctor about any questions or concerns you may have. Here are a few things to keep in mind.
What to talk with your doctor about
Notify your doctor if you have asthma or any chronic lung disease.
Talk with your doctor about any medications you take. Ask if you should take these medications on the day of the test. Get specific instructions about blood pressure and diabetes medications. It is very important to ask your doctor about any medications that contain THEOPHYLLINE.
What to avoid
Avoid all caffeine and tobacco 12 hours before your test.
Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before.
What to bring
Bring all of your signed doctors' orders and referrals with you.
Bring a list of your medications with you.
Dress in comfortable clothing for the test.
How will I get the results?
Your test results will be available in about two to three days. Talk with your doctor about the results and what they mean.