Home | What's New | Your Office Visit | MD Profile | Medical Information | Types of Tests | Health & Wellness | Contact us

. How does it work?

It has been found that if a patient exercises on a treadmill machine and is given a dose of a specific radioactive material intravenously which specifically travels to the heart muscle, it will tell us if the heart muscle is receiving adequate blood supply. If the specific radioactive material doesn't get to the heart muscle because of blocked arteries, it means there is a limited blood supply. This alerts your doctor that perhaps further tests are warranted. The agents employed are generally Sestamibi and Thallium.

. What happens during a Stress Test?

In general, the patient comes to the exercise location, either in a physician's office or at the hospital and is given a dose of radioactive material at rest. Pictures of the heart are taken with a large and bulky, but totally non-invasive, radioactive camera showing the heart rather clearly. An hour or so later, the patient is exercised on a treadmill or is "exercised"** using an intravenous medication instead of true exercise. At the appropriate time, a second dose of radioactive material is given intravenously. Then, some minutes later, additional pictures of the heart are taken with the radioactive camera.

The initial resting pictures obtained are compared to the exercise pictures. The data is manipulated in a computer, and additional diagrams are obtained showing whether or not there is evidence of reduced blood supply to a particular area of the heart muscle. If no changes from the resting to the exercise pictures are noted, then it is assumed that no blockages are present. If there is a difference with exercise, then it is assumed that a blockage may indeed be present. Further study or adjusted medications would be required in that circumstance.

**Occasionally a person is unable to do exercise such as walking because they are ill or have physical limitations. In this case, a medication such as Dipyridamole (di-pi-RID'-ah-mol) is given to the patient instead of performing an exercise test. This medication increases blood flow to the heart and thus "mimics" an exercise test. The Thallium portion of the test is then performed as usual.

. Why do I need a Thallium/Sestamibi Stress Test instead of a Standard Treadmill Stress Test?

The radioactive stress test is more accurate than the standard treadmill and is probably around 85% accurate across the board.

. Is this safe?

The radioactive stress test also is extremely safe and carries with it a small potential risk of complications, probably 1 in 1,500 to 1 in 2,000 cases. These complications mainly involve rare skin rashes and generally nothing other than that.

. What should I wear? Can I eat?

You will be asked to wear comfortable clothes and shoes. In general, you will be asked not to eat or drink anything after midnight. You may take your medicines with sips of water unless otherwise instructed.

You may not have any intake of caffeine 24 hours prior to the test. Caffeine is in food and beverages such as all regular and decaffeinated coffees or teas, all chocolate products, Cokes, Pepsi, Mountain Dew, and certain pain relievers. These are just a few examples. Please read your labels carefully. The test will have to be canceled if you have consumed any caffeine.

. How long does it take?

The entire procedure takes approximately five hours. You will not have any type of sedation; therefore, you will be able to drive yourself to and from the facility.

If your cardiologist orders this procedure for you, our scheduling staff will make all the appropriate arrangements and give you specific instructions.




Thallium/ Sestamibi Stress Test


Contact us































Home | Your Office Visit | MD Profile | Medical Information
Types of Tests | Health & Wellness | Contact us

Copyright 1999 - 2001 by Heart of Georgia Cardiology

Site created by