What is a heart scintigraphy?
Cardiac scintigraphy is used to examine the blood flow to the heart at rest and under stress. In addition, the pumping power (strength of the heart) can be measured. The wall movement should be shown. Scars caused by a heart attack can also be detected with this examination.
How does a cardiac scintigraphy work??
The examination consists of a stress examination and a rest examination. Often both examinations take place on the same day, first the stress examination, then the rest examination. For various reasons, however, the tests can also be spread over two days.
For exertion, ride a bicycle (ergometer) for a few minutes on a "home trainer" – adjusted to your performance level. If you get pain in your knees or hips while cycling, or for other reasons (z. B. Exhaustion) cannot cope on the bike, can alternatively be loaded with medication.
You will be injected with a weakly radioactive substance, both under stress and at rest, which can be used to show the blood flow to the heart muscle. Images of blood flow to your heart will be shown after exercise. Later taken up again at rest.
What to look for before a heart scintigraphy?
From the day before the scintigraphy, do not have any drinks or food containing caffeine (z.B. Coffee, tea or chocolate). You must come to the examination sober, however, a snack, z. B. Bring a cheese roll with lots of butter or gratinated and some orange juice or milk to drink. By having this slightly fattier snack in between the stressful-. Rest examination often improves the image quality. If you don't like cheese, you can of course bring another snack with you.
If you are taking beta blockers or calcium antagonists, these should not be taken from the day before the examination, after consultation with your cardiologist. If you are not sure what medication you are taking, we can discuss this with you in advance by telephone.
How long does the heart scintigraphy last?
Bring some time with you. Preparation, injection, stress and rest recordings take about 3-4 hours. In addition, a recovery phase must be scheduled between the stress and rest examinations. Scintigraphy can therefore only be offered in the mornings.
When is heart scintigraphy useful?
Normally, you are referred by your cardiologist or family doctor for a heart scintigraphy. The examination is often helpful if there is a certain risk of coronary heart disease, but the cardiologist does not want to do a cardiac catheterization yet. If coronary artery disease is known, cardiac scintigraphy can provide important information on the relevance of constrictions in the coronary vessels. Scintigraphy is also often important in planning bypass surgery when deciding for or against surgery.