The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

What is Nuclear Cardiology?

The Nuclear cardiology department carry-out myocardial perfusion scans this is a Test done to check the flow of blood to your heart muscle. Blood vessels called coronary arteries bring blood to the heart muscle, if these arteries become blocked or narrowed, the heart muscle may not receive enough blood to function properly. This narrowing is called coronary artery disease (CAD).

GE 530C with SPECT


Nuclear Cardiology Patient Experience

The myocardial perfusion scan is divided into two parts - a stress scan and a rest scan. They are generally undertaken on different days and can be done in any order.

The rest scan is performed by a specially trained radiographer or technician, who will give you an injection of a special chemical called a radionuclide (sometimes called a radioactive isotope) into a vein in your arm. Following a delay of approximately one hour a camera (called a gamma camera) will take pictures of the distribution of the radioactive isotope within your heart muscle.

During the stress scan you will be given a drug through a vein in your arm that mimics the effects of exercise - this is called pharmacological stress. The drugs that are used are called adenosine or regadenoson. During the stress test you will be given more of the radioactive isotope, and again following a delay of up to an hour we will take pictures of the blood flow to the heart muscle using the gamma camera.The radioactive isotope travels through the blood stream and into heart muscle, as it moves through the heart muscle, areas that have good blood flow take up the radioactive isotope. Areas that do not absorb radioactive isotope may well have a poor blood supply due to narrowed arteries.