Cardiac Perfusion Scan (or Myocardial Perfusion Scan) is a type of nuclear medicine test. It relies on a small dose of radioactive substance to highlight tissue on a computer screen.
This type of scan is used to evaluate the heart’s heart’s function and blood flow.
The radioactive substance (tracer) is injected into a vein in the arm and then travels through the bloodstream, where it enters the heart and is absorbed by healthy heart tissue. On the scan, the areas where the substance has been absorbed will show up differently than the areas that do not absorb it. Areas with poor absorption could mean decreased or blocked blood flow or possible tissue damage—possible signs of heart disease.
A resting myocardial perfusion scan may be performed on either an outpatient or inpatient basis. Upon your arrival you will be asked to remove any jewelry or metal objects including non-implanted medical devices. You will be asked to wear a gown and lie on an exam table. The injection of the tracer into your arm may cause some slight discomfort. After the medication has circulated through your body (10 minutes to one hour), the scanner will start to take images of your heart. Following the procedure you will be instructed to drink plenty of fluids and urinate frequently to help flush the remaining tracer from your body.
If you are pregnant or suspect that you could be, notify your physician. Radiation exposure during pregnancy may lead to birth defects. Also notify your physician of any allergies or sensitivities, medical conditions or current prescription medications. Avoid caffeine within 24 hours of the procedure. Fasting may be required beforehand. Your physician will give you instructions as to how long you should withhold food or liquid.