Myocardial Perfusion Scan

Myocardial Perfusion Scan

What is a Myocardial Perfusion Scan?

Myocardial perfusion scan is a Nuclear Imaging test done to see how blood flows through the heart muscle. This test may be done after a heart attack to detect how your heart muscle is functioning. This test is done at rest and after giving little stress to the heart.

How Myocardial Perfusion Scan is done?

Myocardial perfusion scan is done using a radioactive substance called a radioactive tracer. The area of the heart muscle where blood flow is good takes up tracer actively. Areas, where the heart muscle is weak, do not absorb the tracer and is visible in scans as cold spots.

What is a stress Myocardial Perfusion Scan?

A stress myocardial perfusion scan is the procedure where the patient is exercised before the scan. It assesses the blood flow through heart muscle when it's stressed. Patients who cannot exercise can take certain medications to stress the heart. 

Why and when you may need a stress Myocardial Perfusion Scan?


  • Chest pain, either new onset or occurring over a period of days or longer

  • To diagnose coronary artery disease (CAD), which is the narrowing of the coronary arteries which may lead to a heart attack.

  • After a heart attack (myocardial infarction, or MI) to assess heart muscle damage

  • To assess blood flow to areas of the heart muscle after coronary artery bypass surgery, angioplasty, or stent placement.

Is it safe to get a Myocardial Perfusion Scan?

Myocardial perfusion scan is a safe procedure if done at the right place. Expertise is required to do such kinds of scans. It is now one of the most sought after investigation to detect heart muscle condition.

What are the complications which can happen during Myocardial Perfusion Scan?

  • The exercise done as part of the test may lead to rare instances of abnormal heart rhythms, chest pain, or heart attack due to the stress on the heart caused by the exercise. Most of the good centers are well equipped to handle this.

  • The needle used to put in the IV may cause some pain. The injection of the radioactive tracer may cause some slight discomfort. Allergic reactions to the tracer are rare.

  • If your heart is stressed using the medicine, you may feel anxious, dizzy, nauseous, shaky, or short of breath or chest pain for a brief period.