Myocardial Perfusion Imaging

Myocardial perfusion imaging uses a small amount of radioactive tracer to check the blood flow to your heart.

When you arrive for your test, an IV will be placed in your arm, which will be injected with the radioactive tracer. After a short waiting period, you will then be positioned in front of a special camera, called a gamma camera. For the next 20 minutes, the technologist will take images of your heart.

Once the images are complete, you will then have 10 electrodes placed on your chest to monitor your heart rate for the exercise portion of myocardial perfusion imaging. Under the guidance of an exercise physiologist, you will walk or run on a treadmill. If you cannot use a treadmill, a special medicine will be injected into your IV to make your heart beat more rapidly. Once your heart rate reaches a certain number, you will be injected with another radioactive tracer. After a short waiting period, more images of your heart will be taken by the gamma camera.


  • Bring a complete list of your medications.
  • Continue taking your medications as your doctor has prescribed, unless you have been told, by your doctor, to stop taking them.
  • Do not eat solid food or consume caffeine two hours before your appointment time, although water is acceptable.
  • No tests that use barium for at least 48 hours before this appointment.
  • Be sure to wear comfortable clothing without metal zippers, buttons, buckles or decoration.
  • Remember to bring the written order (prescription), for this test, given to you by your doctor.

If you are also having a pharmacological (Persantine) Stress Study, you must not consume caffeine for at least 24 hours before your appointment. This also includes decaffeinated coffee and tea as well as chocolate.


Patients of childbearing age should review the pregnancy and breastfeeding guidelines.