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Nuclear Perfusion Scan

  • What is a Nuclear Perfusion Scan?

    The nuclear perfusion scan is used to assess the flow of your blood to your heart muscles during exercise and when you are resting. During the procedure, a radioactive compound (called a tracer) is injected into a vein in your arm. The tracer is swept from the blood quickly by the heart muscle cells. Heart images are then captured using a gamma camera. If radioactivity is not detected in parts of your heart, this shows that there is a lack of blood supply to that part.

  • Your doctor may request a nuclear perfusion scan if you complain from chest pain that occurs for no clear reason or during exercise. The result of the scan can help to find the cause of the chest pain. The doctor may also advise this test to assess blood flow to the heart walls, and to check if any coronary (heart) arteries are blocked and the extent of the blockage.

    This test is also useful if you have experienced a heart attack. It allows your doctor to judge the extent of the damage to your heart. Also, it is a good assessment test of blood flow if you have undergone heart bypass surgery or angioplasty (the re-opening of the blocked heart arteries using a balloon or a stent).

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