Persantine Stress Test

A Persantine stress test with Myocardial Perfusion Imaging (MPI) or Cardiolite is a pharmacological (drug) stress test that can be done for those individuals unable to walk on a treadmill. This test uses a short-lived radioactive material, which along with computer imaging will help highlight any severely diseased blood vessels that may be causing diminished blood flow to your heart. This test aids your physician in determining whether you have heart disease, or a heart-related cause of symptoms, such as shortness of breath or chest or upper back pain.

Test Procedure

  1. An exercise technician will place electrodes (small adhesive patches) on your chest, wrists and ankles. A belt will be wrapped around your waist, which has lead wires that will be connected to the skin electrodes.
  2. You will lie down on your back for approximately 20 - 45 minutes, as you are not required to exercise for this test. An electrocardiogram (EKG) and a blood pressure will be obtained to ensure there are no significant abnormalities that would prevent your test from being done.
  3. An intravenous (IV) line will be started. The Persantine will be administered for four minutes through the IV line. This medicine allows the blood vessels to dilate (increase in size).
  4. There are potential side effects from the Persantine, such as a warm, flushed feeling, headache, nausea, or chest pain. If you experience any of these symptoms a medicine called Aminophylline may be given through your IV to reverse the symptoms.
  5. After seven minutes an injection of Cardiolite will be given through your IV. Cardiolite is a radioactive tracer used for computer imaging of your heart that will be taken later. Cardiolite is not a drug or dye and causes no known side effects or symptoms.
  6. Since the injection of Cardiolite exposes you to a small amount of radiation, you will need to have a blood test to rule out pregnancy before your stress test unless you have been post-menopausal for at least two years or have had a hysterectomy.
  7. Your responsibility is to inform the test technician of any developing symptoms (headache, chest pain, dizziness, lightheadedness, shortness of breath). If there are any abnormal responses the test can be stopped and/or Aminophylline may be given.
  8. A minimum two-minute recovery period is then done with continued heart rate, EKG and periodic blood pressure monitoring. As soon as these measurements are close to your initial or resting values, you will be disconnected from the monitor.
  9. Approximately one hour after the infusion of the Persantine and injection of Cardiolite, you will be taken to the Nuclear Medicine department for a series of pictures of your heart. You will lie on your back with your arms over your head for 15 - 20 minutes. You may also be asked to lie on your stomach for an additional 15 - 20 minutes for a second set of pictures.
  10. Typically, you will return within 2 to 3 days for another set of nuclear images. These will be taken approximately 30 - 60 minutes after an injection of Cardiolite.
  11. A cardiologist and nuclear medicine physician will review the test and interpret it for your follow-up visit or for forwarding to your referring physician.
Allow approximately 2 - 3 hours for day one of the test and 1 - 2 hours for your return visit.