Sestamibi Stress Test

What is a sestamibi stress test?

This is a nuclear scanning test performed to determine how well blood is flowing to the heart muscle. It is usually performed while the patient engages in physical activity.

What is Myocardial Perfusion Imaging?

This is a test that uses a radioactive tracer to produce images of the heart muscle.  When combined with an exercise test, the images can help determine if areas of the heart are recovering enough blood.

How do I prepare for this exam?

Medications: Please ask your referring physician whether or not to take your normally prescribed medications. This is important because some medicines may inhibit the rise in your heart rate during the test. Please bring a complete listing of your medications with you.

Foods: Have nothing to eat for 4 hours prior to your exam. You may drink water at any time.
Diabetic patients may have a light snack, as needed, to maintain blood sugar levels. Do not drink/eat any products containing caffeine 24 hours prior to this exam.

Clothing: Comfortable clothing should be worn, as you will be walking on a treadmill. Wear slacks, shorts, sweat pants or a skirt. No dresses please. You will have EKG leads placed on your chest during the exam. A hospital gown will be provided to you. Sneakers are strongly recommended.

What will happen during the exam?

There are three (3) parts to this test: taking pictures, exercising and taking more pictures.

An IV will be started in your arm.  The technologist will inject a radioactive tracer through the IV.

Part I.  You will then wait 30-45 minutes before taking your first set of images. The images take about 20 minutes. You must lie perfectly still for these pictures.

Part II. The technologist will then attach EKG electrodes to your chest in preparation for the stress test.  You will exercise on a treadmill while a cardiologist monitors your blood pressure and cardiogram.  Another tracer will be injected into the IV about one (1) minute before you stop exercising.

Part III. The third part of the test involves taking another set of images. There will be a 60 minute delay before the images are taken. You may get something to eat during this time.

How long will the procedure take?

The entire procedure will take between three to three-and-a-half hours.

 What will happen after the exam?

After the exam, the technologist will process your images using a computer. A radiologist will compare the two sets of pictures within 24 hours and dictate a report.  A report will be sent to your physician.

A cardiologist will evaluate the EKG portion of the exam. This will be reported separately to your physician.

 How  will I receive the results?

You will get the results of the exam from your doctor.

Important: If there is any possibility that you are PREGNANT or NURSING a baby, please speak with your referring physician before your scheduled appointment.

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