Overview of Nuclear Cardiology and Heart Perfusion Imaging
Nuclear cardiology and heart perfusion imaging tests measure the pattern of blood flow to the heart muscle. These tests begin with an injection of radioactive chemicals(radionuclides) into your bloodstream through an IV. The resulting picture, called a nuclear scan, helps healthcare providers assess blood flow to your heart muscle, detect heart damage, and assess heart function. The radionuclides injected into your bloodstream act as tracers. They give off gamma rays, which are detected with imaging equipment called a gamma camera.
Nuclear imaging tests are used for several purposes:
- To evaluate blood supply to areas of damaged heart muscle after a heart attack.
- To assess whether you have coronary artery disease and measure how much your arteries are blocked. This test compares blood flow to the heart during rest and during exercise and is also referred to as a nuclear stress test. See Stress testing for more information.
- To measure the effectiveness of treatment such as bypass surgery or any other procedure used to restore blood flow to the heart.
During your test, you will lie on a table under a gamma camera, often with your arms over your head. Pillows will be used to make you comfortable.
Learn what happens (and what you need to do) before, during, and after this procedure:
Where do I go?
Cardiac nuclear scans are performed in our Nuclear Cardiology/Cardiac PET-CT Lab. An order from your doctor is required. On the day of your procedure, you need to come to Intermountain Medical Center – Building 4 (Heart & Lung Center). Follow the signs to Patient Registration on the first floor. After you register you will go down one floor to our lobby and waiting area. When it is time for your procedure, your name will be called and you will be led to the testing area.
If you have questions please call us: 801-507-4701.