Rest and stress heart perfusion scan

What is this test?

The scan takes pictures of the blood flow to your heart muscle at rest and during stress. It will tell your doctor if any parts of your heart do not get enough blood. 

Your appointment

If you make any changes to your insurance before your appointment please call Registration at 1-866-309-0832. This will help lessen delays and the need to reschedule your test, as many radiology services need a pre-authorization. 

Check in at the place written on your appointment letter. 

If you cannot do the prep listed below, you may not be able to have the test, or it may be rescheduled.

Getting ready for your test

  • Do not wear jewelry.
  • Do not wear clothing with metal.

Before your test, tell your doctor or nurse if you:

  • Are pregnant or think you may be pregnant
  • Are breastfeeding
  • Are diabetic
  • Have other tests that limit the number of fluids you can drink


  • Do not eat or drink anything except water for 12 hours before the test.
    • If you have any other test today where you are told not to eat or drink for a longer amount of time, follow those instructions.
  • Do not eat or drink caffeine for 12 hours before your test, it can affect this test. Your test will be rescheduled if you ear or drink caffeine for 12 hours before the test, such as:
    • Chocolate
    • Cocoa
    • Coffee
    • Decaffeinated drinks
    • Soda pop
    • Tea
  • People with diabetes can drink clear juices, such as apple or cranberry.


  • Bring a list of medications you are taking.
  • Take your normal medicines with water before your test.
    • Ask your doctor if you need to stop taking any of your medicines.
  • Do not take any medicine with theophylline for 12 hours or dipyridamole (Persantine) for 48 hours before your test.
  • If you are having a treadmill stress test, ask your doctor if you need to stop taking beta blockers 48 hours before your test.

What to expect

  • The test will take two to three hours. Some people will need to have the test on two separate days because of body size or shape.
  • There are two parts to the test:
    1. An intravenous (IV) catheter will be put into a vein in your arm. A dose of radioactive medicine will be put into your IV. Pictures of your heart will be taken while you rest. Keep drinking water after the first pictures are taken. 
    2. You will walk on a treadmill or get medicine through your IV. This will stress your heart. During the stress, the second dose of radioactive medicine will be put into your IV a second set of pictures of your heart will be taken. 
  • The level of radioactivity used is very low. There are no side effects.
  • Pictures will be taken with a gamma camera. You must hold very still when the pictures are taken. Please tell your doctor if you cannot do this.
    • It does not put out radiation.
    • It is placed close to your heart.
    • It is not painful.
Last reviewed: 
August 2018

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