A myocardial perfusion scan is a type of nuclear medicine imaging procedure. A radiopharmaceutical is injected into a vein which binds to the healthy heart muscle, and emits gamma rays. The gamma rays are detected by a special camera called a gamma camera. The myocardial perfusion scan evaluates the heart’s function and blood flow.
On the scan, the areas where the radiopharmaceutical has been absorbed will show up differently than the areas that do not absorb it (due to possible damage to the tissue from decreased or blocked blood flow).
A stress myocardial perfusion scan is used to assess the blood flow to the heart muscle (myocardium) when it is stressed by exercise or medication and to determine what areas of the myocardium have decreased blood flow.
There are two types of stress myocardial perfusion scans, one that is used in conjunction with exercise (myocardial perfusion scan with exercise) and one that is used in conjunction with medication (pharmacologic myocardial perfusion scan).
At Trinity Medical Imaging all our myocardial perfusion stress scans are performed using medication called Regadenoson. This has a proven track record of safety and efficacy in millions of patients around the world.
Other related procedures that may be used to diagnose heart disorders include exercise and resting electrocardiograms (ECG or EKG), Holter monitor, signal-averaged ECG, cardiac catheterization, chest X-ray, computed tomography (CT scan) of the chest, echocardiography, electrophysiological studies, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the heart, radionuclide angiography, and cardiac CT scan.
The most common indications for a stress myocardial perfusion scan may include;
- Chest pain, either new onset or occurring over a period of days or longer
- Following a heart attack (myocardial infarction, or MI)
- To assess blood flow to areas of the myocardium that have been reperfused (coronary artery blood flow restored) by bypass surgery, angioplasty (the opening of a coronary artery using a balloon or other method), or stent (a tiny expandable metal coil placed inside an artery to keep the artery open)