Stress myocardial perfusion imaging is a nuclear medicine examination that can help determine if there is a signficanct obstruction in a coronary artery that limits blood flow to a region of heart muscle. In the past, nearly all nuclear perfusion exams used isotopes such as thallium and technetium however PET imaging with Rubidium has become more popular. PET-Rubidium is more accurate then the other exams and exposes patients to less radiation and can be performed in less then one hour. PET-Rubidum examinations can be performed at Westside Medical Imaging with short notice in Medicare patients. We will assist you with authorizations in patients have have insurance coverage. Your assistance in providing the clincial indication for the exam on the prescrption form and clinic notes when requested will speed the authroization process.
During the examination, a camera captures images of the heart after the nuclear tracer is injected through an intravenous catheter into a vein in the arm. The tracer travels through the blood and into the heart muscle. As the tracer moves through the heart muscle, areas that have normal blood flow absorb greater amounts of the tracer. Areas of reduced blood flow absorb less tracer and to the cardiologists appears as a “dark area” on the final images. Two sets of images are obtained during a cardiac perfusion examination. One set is taken while your heart is resting the second is taken either during a physical (treadmill) or chemical (adenosine, dobutamine) stress.
Why It Is Done
A cardiac nuclear perfusion scan is done to:
Determine if symptoms such as chest discomfort, shortness of breath or fatigue are due to an obstruction of a coronary artery
Determine if there is a significant obstruction in the coronary arteries of diabetics who often do not have symptoms and have “silent disease”
Determine if there is a recurrence of a blockage or obstruction in a patient who has undergone a coronary angioplasty or stent implantation
Assess the cardiac risk of a patient with coronary risk factors such as diabetes, hypertension, elevated cholesterol, smoking history, obesity or family history prior to undergoing surgery or a procedure
Determine if there is significant coronary artery disease in patients with other cardiac conditions such as peripheral arterial disease, erectile dysfunction and atrial fibrillation