Myocardial Perfusion Imaging

(Nuclear Stress Test)

Definition

Myocardial perfusion imaging is a test to look at the blood flow and function of the heart. It uses a low dose of a radioactive agent. Blood flow to the heart is best tested when your heart is working hard, so this test is usually done during exercise. If you cannot exercise, your doctor may use a drug to increase your heart's workload.
Blood Flow Through the Heart
Blood Flow Through the Heart
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Reasons for Test

Myocardial perfusion imaging is used to look for any damage to your heart. It may also help to determine your future risk of heart damage.Your doctor may recommend the test to:

Possible Complications

Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems, like:
  • Chest pain
  • Irregular heart rhythm
  • Radiation exposure
  • Heart attack (rare)
During the test, technicians will be alert for any signs of heart or lung problems. They will be ready to take action if complications develop. Your doctor will be available during the test, as well.

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