The test is done in two parts, while resting and with stress. For part one, an IV is started in a vein in your arm, then the nuclear imaging material is given. This will be allowed to circulate for 30 minutes while you rest comfortably in a bed or chair.
After 30 minutes, the first scan will be done. You will be asked to lie flat with your left arm above your head. This scan takes about 15 minutes. After this scan, the second part of the test will begin.
Do not eat or drink anything between the two parts of the test.
A cardiologist will be with you for the second part of the test, when you will lie on a bed or stretcher and have several electrodes (small sticky patches) placed on your chest. While resting, the Dobutamine is given slowly for about 15 to 20 minutes. It is normal for the heart muscle to squeeze faster and harder while getting the Dobutamine. When your heart has reached a certain rate and/or when the doctor has enough information, more nuclear imaging material will be given and the Dobutamine will be stopped. If your heart rate does not increase enough with the Dobutamine, you may be asked to do mild leg or arm exercises. You may also be given a medicine called Atropine to help increase your heart rate and you will need to tell the doctor if you have any chest pain or shortness of breath. The nuclear material will be allowed to circulate for 30 minutes while you rest. You can eat or drink while you wait. Then the final scan uses the same camera and takes about 15 minutes. The two scans will help the cardiologist tell if any defects or blockages are temporary, or if they are permanent due to earlier heart damage.