Myocardial Perfusion

Myocardial Perfusion Study is a Nuclear Medicine Scan used to evaluate blood supply to the heart. The study takes images of your heart when at ‘rest’ and when ‘stressed’ from exercise or medication, with the gamma camera taking 3-D images of the heart. By comparing rest and stressed scans, potential heart disease can be identified.


  • For a Myocardial Perfusion Study, it is important the patient avoids food and beverages containing caffeine for 24 hours prior to the study, including coffee, tea, cola, and cocoa.
  • On the day of the scan, the patient should dress appropriately for physical exercise (e.g. shorts or track-pants, t-shirt, sports bra, etc)
  • Patients taking medication to slow their heart rate, the patient may be asked to stop these medications, however this should only be done in consultation with their doctor.
  • Patients should arrive 10-15 minutes early to complete paperwork
  • Patients must bring their request/referral form on the day (or check that their request/referral is at the practice)
  • Notify Lakes Radiology team of any allergies, existing medications and if there is a chance you could be pregnant or breastfeeding.


  • A medical practitioner/technician will talk to you prior to the test and will provide ample opportunity to answer questions you may have at this time.
  • A cannula will be inserted into the arm so that the radiopharmaceutical can be injected.
  • The patient will then wait 15-30 minutes for the radiopharmaceutical to work.
  • The patient will be placed on an exam bed with chest area exposed.
  • A Gamma ray camera will be placed close to the patient’s chest, a number images will be taken (each taking 15-20 minutes.
  • The patient may have to perform different movements/positions during the test.
  • For the ‘stress’ test component of the study, the patient is either injected with medication or required to undertake exercise using a treadmill or exercise bike.
  • The technician will take further images during this period.
  • A Myocardial Perfusion Study Test will take between 3-4 hours.
  • At the completion of the study, the radiologist will check the quality of the images to ensure optimal diagnostic study has been performed.
  • The patient should contact their referring doctor for the result of the test.

Risks or Side Effects

  • A Myocardial Perfusion Study is a simple, non invasive and low risk study.
  • During the examination the amount of radiation the patient is exposed to is similar to that received during a regular diagnostic x-ray.
  • There is a slight risk of an allergic reaction or mild side effect such as headache, nausea, light headedness, asthma etc.
  • The patient should advise Lakes Radiology if they have had a previous allergic reaction to medication prior to the administration of the radiopharmaceutical injection.
  • For both the exercise and medically induced “stress test” there is a very small risk of heart attack (less than 4 in 10,000) for those suffering coronary artery disease.

A Myocardial Perfusion Study is a simple, non-invasive and low-risk study. During the examination you will be exposed to a small amount of radiation comparable to that received during a diagnostic x-ray. There is also a risk of an allergic reaction or mild side-effects (e.g. headache, nausea, light headedness, asthma, etc). If you have previously had an allergic reaction to a medication, you should tell Lakes Radiology before receiving the radiopharmaceutical injection. For both the exercise and the medically-induced ‘stress tests’ there is a very small risk of a heart attack (less than 4 in every 10,000) for those suffering coronary artery disease.

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