During the first part of this test you will lie on a narrow imaging table. A drug used to exercise your heart will be given thrugh your IV. You may feel your heart pump faster and stronger as the drug starts working. While your heart is exercised, a radioactive tracer is given through your IV. This tracer attaches to muscle cells in your heart so that they can show up on the imaging camera.
When it is time for the scanning to begin, you will be asked to lie still and to hold your left arm above your head. A large imaging camera will be brought close to your chest for a series of scans, or pictures. The healthy parts of your heart will appear to "light up" where they have absorbed the radioactive tracer and your heart will stay "dark" in areas that may not be healthy. This scanning session takes approximately 30 minutes. When the scanning is finished your IV will be removed and you will be able to leave the exam room to rest.
After two to four hours you will be asked to return. At this time a second set of scans will be taken of your heart at rest. The process is exactly the same, except you will not receive any IV drugs to exercise your heart. These scans are then compared to those taken during the first scanning session while your heart was exercised. In certain situations you may be asked to return the next morning for a third set of scans.