Myocardial Scintigraphy

Method

 

Supervision of a scintigraphy by a nuclear medicine technician (MTRA)

Supervision of a scintigraphy
by a nuclear medicine technician (MTRA)

Preparation for stress myocardial scintigraphy

Preparation for stress myocardial scintigraphy

Myocardial scintigram

Myocardial scintigram

Nuclear medicine in general

In nuclear medical examinations (scintigraphies) low-level radiolabelled medications (radiotracers) are used in the diagnosis of disease.

The radioactive test substance is injected into an arm vein. It is distributed throughout the body by the blood system, and depending upon its composition, accumulates in the target organ. The radiation produced (gamma rays) has low strength but a wide range. This means it can be visualized outside the body as an image or series of images using a special device (gamma camera).

Most scintigraphies cause an exposure to radiation equal to a person’s natural annual exposure. As all nuclear medical procedures involve such exposure – albeit only slight – to radiation, they can only be carried out when the patient is not pregnant.

Myocardial scintigraphy

Myocardial scintigraphy helps to evaluate the circulation of the heart. The examination comprises two parts – an examination under stress and one while resting. The scintigraphies are made on different days, and your doctor will determine the order.

 

Preparation

 

Preparation at home

You may eat a light meal until two hours before the planned examination.

You should not take any medicines containing theophylline, or eat/drink anything containing caffeine (coffee, tea, chocolate, Cola) for twelve hours before the examination.

RESTING MYOCARDIAL SCINTIGRAPHY

Please continue to take your heart medicine as usual.

STRESS MYOCARDIAL SCINTIGRAPHY

Please stop taking – after consultation with the doctor who treats you – both beta blockers and calcium antagonist drugs for 48 hours, and nitrates (e.g. nitro spray) 24 hours before the examination.

Please bring with you:

  • Where available, existing examination results (imaging, clinical examinations, surgical or hospital discharge reports, lab test results)
  • A towel

Procedure

 

Prior to the examination you will be questioned about the medical history of your illness to date and your present symptoms. The doctor will also check whether there is a justifiable indication for the examination, i.e. whether a myocardial scintigraphy is medically useful and necessary.

The low-level radiolabelled medication (radiotracer) will be injected into an arm vein. Recording of the examination data can only begin when the medication has been absorbed into the myocardium. In the case of a resting examination, this takes approx. 30 minutes.

In the case of a stress examination, the recordings are made approx. 30-60 minutes after a cycle ergometer stress test or the administration of a vascular-effective medication (adenosine).

During the examination you will be lying comfortably – usually on your back – on the examination table. The recording system (gamma camera) moves slowly around your body, but will not touch you as it does so. Please follow instructions exactly, as they are very important for the quality of the image.

The recording time will be approx. 20 minutes. Usually, you will be able to leave the practice immediately after the examination.

A detailed report with the results of the examination will be sent to the doctor who referred you to us. This will usually reach your doctor within ten days; in case of medical necessity, it may also come at short notice on the same or the following day.