Nuclear Medicine

Why Nuclear Medicine and Cardiac Scans?

Cardiac scans are an important diagnostic tool that enhance patient treatment through:

  • Accurate assessment of myocardial perfusion, function and viability.
  • Early detection of disease and more

What is a Nuclear Medicine Scan?

  • This procedure is a non-invasive exam that can accurately identify areas of abnormal cardiac blood flow, determine the functional capacity of your heart muscle, and separate viable (living) from non-viable (irreversibly damaged) tissue.
  • In the evaluation of myocardial perfusion, or blood flow through the coronary arteries, the cardiac scan may require both a resting and a stress test.
  • The stress test is performed either by treadmill exercise or with medication if the patient cannot walk on the treadmill.]
  • The cardiac scan can identify areas of the heart which do not receive adequate blood flow during stress, called ischemia, as well as find areas of irreversibly damaged heart, or scar.

How does a cardiac scan work? 

  • Blood flow to the coronary arteries is typically adequate at rest, even in partially blocked vessels.
  • Under conditions of stress, such as during administration of medications or while on a treadmill, blood flow in a narrowed artery is significantly reduced.
  • By comparing the images of blood flow during rest and stress, the cardiac scan can accurately determine whether patients have coronary blockages (stenosis), scarring (due to prior heart attack), or normal blood flow function and viability.
  • Cardiac imaging can also measure the function of the heart muscle. Knowing how the heart works can be an important independent predictor of future events.

How do I prepare for a Cardiac Scan?

  • Six hours before test: Do not eat or drink (except water)
  • 24 hours prior to study: Refrain from foods or drinks that contain caffeine.
  • If you have diabetes, discuss this with your physician and call the Radiology staff 48 hours before your scan.
  • If you are, or think you may be pregnant, discuss this with your physician. Generally, this cardiac scan is not performed on pregnant women.

What to Bring and What to Wear

WEAR: Warm, comfortable clothes, with walking shoes or sneakers if you expect to walk on the treadmill.

BRING: Insurance cards and reports of any previous cardiac studies that you have had. (e.g. EKG, ECHO, coronary angiography, operative reports.)

For more information on Nuclear Medicine or Cardiac Scans please call (812) 663- 1156