A Cardiac Stress Test with Myocardial Perfusion Imaging (MPI) is a non-invasive test to study the blood flow to your heart during stress and at rest. A Cardiac Stress Test with MPI is done to study the blood flow to your heart muscle through the coronary arteries.
This test is done to evaluate blood flow to the heart, both at rest and with exercise if you are unable to walk on a treadmill. It is useful in detecting an inadequate blood supply to the heart muscle. It might be ordered if you have been experiencing symptoms such as chest pain, difficulty breathing, fatigue and/or palpitations. It is frequently ordered following a heart attack, angioplasty or open-heart surgery to assess your heart's recovery. It is usually ordered prior to starting cardiac rehabilitation.
The test is done in three (3) parts with breaks in between and normally requires four (4) hours to complete.
Note: If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, have asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or are taking theophylline or caffeine-containing drugs, you must consult your doctor before the test.
When you arrive in nuclear cardiology, a technologist will give you an injection of an isotope called cardiolite. You will then wait in the waiting room approximately 45 minutes until it is time for your first set of pictures. A nuclear cardiology staff member will escort you from the waiting room to the nuclear cardiology lab for your pictures.
Following these pictures a cardiology technician will bring you into the stress test room. Here they will take a brief history, including what medications you may be presently taking. You will then be hooked up to an electrocardiogram and blood pressure machine. An intravenous (IV) line will be started in order to give you a medication called persantine or dipyridamole. Once the appropriate dose of persantine is administered, another injection of cardiolite will be given. You will then rest for a few minutes while another medication called aminophylline is given to reverse the effects of the persantine.
At this point it will be necessary for you to eat or drink something with fat in it. We can provide you with 8 oz of milk, or you may go to the coffee shop for something else to eat. The milk or food will help move any of the cardiolite out of the gallbladder, and improve the pictures. Approximately 20 minutes later you will have your second set of pictures, which can be compared to the first. After this second set of pictures the test is complete.
Your test results will be interpreted by a cardiologist, who will then send the results to your referring physician.