What is it?

A Myocardial Perfusion Scan (also known as a Sestamibi Scan) is a test to examine the blood supply to the heart muscle. It is used to diagnose and assess problems of blood supply to the heart, such as blocked arteries.


What do I need to do before the procedure?

Make sure you remember to bring any previous films or reports to the appointment. Wear warm comfortable clothing and shoes suitable for brisk walking. You will also need to:

  • Stop caffeine use - do not have any foods, drinks or medications containing Caffeine for at least 24 hours before the test. This includes tea, coffee, cola and chocolate
  • Fast for six hours - fast for 6 hours prior to the test. You may drink plain water only during the fasting period
  • Non-diabetic medications - you should be able to take your normal medication with plain water as normal. If you take heart/blood pressure medication, ask your doctor if you should stop these before the test

If you take diabetic medication, you will need to follow additional preparations:

  • Non-Insulin Dependent - fast for 4 hours prior to the test, and do not take your diabetic tablets in the morning
  • Insulin Dependent - take your morning Insulin with your usual breakfast at least 4 hours prior to the test. Then do not have anything else to eat before your test.


What will happen?

A small cannula will be placed into a vein in your arm and a small injection of a radiotracer (Sestamibi) given. After 45 minutes, pictures of the resting blood supply to the heart will be taken with a special camera. This takes about 20 minutes. You must stay very still and breathe normally: if there is any movement in the pictures, they will have to be repeated.

Later, you will have to complete a stress test by walking on a treadmill or having a medication injected through the cannula. Just before the end of the stress test, a second dose of the radioactive tracer (Sestamibi) will be injected into the cannula. After 45 minutes, a second set of pictures (of the maximum blood supply of the heart) will be taken by the special camera. Once again, this takes about 20 minutes, and during the pictures you must stay very still and breathe normally.

The entire test takes about 5-6 hours if done in 1 day, or 2 appointments of 3 hours if done over 2 days.


What can I expect after?

There are no after-effects from having a myocardial perfusion scan. Once it is finished, you can go home. You are able to drive immediately after the test. Your results will be sent to your GP or specialist.