A cardiac SPECT exam is an important tool in the early detection of disease. It can provide an accurate assessment of myocardial function, perfusion, and viability. A cardiac SPECT exam is a single-photon emission computed tomography scan. This is a noninvasive procedure that is able to clearly and accurately identify areas of abnormal myocardial perfusion. The scan is used to determine the functional capacity of a person’s heart muscles. It can also identify and separate viable or living heart tissue from nonviable or irreversibly damaged heart tissue.
You may be required to perform a resting and stress test if a SPECT scan is being used to evaluate myocardial perfusion or blood flow in your coronary arteries. A stress test will be done on a treadmill. Or it may be done with medication that stresses the heart if you are not able to walk on a treadmill. With a cardiac SPECT exam, it is possible for medical professionals to identify the parts of the heart that are not receiving sufficient blood flow during stress. This is called ischemia. This scan can also evaluate areas of irreversibly damaged tissue in the heart or scars in the heart.
In the lead-up to your study, your doctor may recommend that you stay away from caffeine. You should wear comfortable clothing and walking shoes if you are going to run on the treadmill.
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