What is the Exercise Sestamibi scan for?

The scan can pick up blockages in arteries in the heart and see how bad they are.

What preparation is required?

Some heart and blood pressure tablets may interfere with the stress test and it is preferable if these tablets are not taken on the morning of the test, but please ask your doctor if this is acceptable.  Have a light breakfast on the morning of the test.  If you’re a diabetic, take half of your insulin or tablet on the morning of the test.  The exercise test is performed on a bicycle so please bring comfortable clothing.  Please bring all your medications with you as they can be taken once the exercise has concluded.  The test will take 5 hours.

What happens with the test?

When you arrive you are given a small injection of sestamibi into a vein in your arm.  There are no side effects from the injection and you will not feel tired of dizzy and you can drive a car.  After the injection, there is a 45 minute delay till the first part of the scan.

For the scan, you lie on the bed while pictures of your heart are taken.  These take about 15 minutes.

Afterwards, there is a 2-3 hour break until he exercise test.  During the delay, you can do what you like and drink water or milk.  No food to be consumed.

After the break, the exercise test is performed.  This is performed on an exercise bike and there is full monitoring of your heart and blood pressure and a cannula is placed in one of your arm veins.  You pedal on the bike as long as you can, until you reach your maximum heart rate.  At that time, you are given the second injection of sestamibi through the cannula.  This is the same as the first injection.  There is a small risk of a serious side effect from the exercise – this happens in about 1 in 5000 people.

After the exercise, you can have lunch, take your medications.  You will be given a time to come back for the final set of pictures.

Is it painful and are there any side effects?

No. There are no side effects or reaction from the injection. The injection does NOT contain iodine and is therefore safe in people who are allergic to radiological contrast injections. Although you will be required to keep still during the scan, the procedure itself is completely painless.

What if I am pregnant?

Please inform the Doctor or the Technologist if there is a chance you are pregnant or are breastfeeding.

When do I get the results?

Results will be available the following day after 2pm.