What We Do

This test checks how your heart is working with the help of a medication called adenosine which increases blood flow to the heart. As tests go, it's pretty simple – there's no physical exercise required.

This test is very useful in checking whether there are any blocked arteries, how your heart treatment is progressing and if your heart is strong enough for surgery. It will also tell us if any recent heart surgery (like a bypass or angioplasty) has done its job and is improving your health.​

 Materials and Resources to Help You

The Patient & Family Education Program at UHN offers valuable resources to help you understand your condition.

Resources from the Patient & Family Education Program

Visit our Health Information section to find dedicated resources to help you understand your condition. Find the information you're looking for.​

 Your Procedure

How to Prepare

Please bring with you a list of your current medications. This includes prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, vitamin or mineral supplements and herbal remedies.

DO NOT eat or drink caffeinated, decaffeinated or caffeine-free products (such as soda, chocolate, coffee, energy drinks, tea, or Tylenol #1, 2 or 3) for at least 48 hours before the test.

Checking In

When you arrive at the Nuclear Cardiology Lab, check in at the reception desk. Please have the following ready:

  • Health card (OHIP card). If you do not have an OHIP card, please bring another form of government-issued photo ID (such as a driver's license, passport, or other provincial health card). Please arrive 15 minutes before your appointment.
  • Your name, address and birth date.

Before the Adenosine Sestamibi Test

When you check-in, the receptionist will give you a name band to wear. The technologist will call you when it is time for your test. You will be asked to change into a hospital gown. There are lockers for your clothes in the changing area, but you should keep your valuables with you.

When you have finished changing, a technologist will take you into the room. They will explain the procedure and ask for your consent.

During and After the Adenosine Sestamibi Test

A technologist will first ask you questions about your medical history, do an ECG and check your blood pressure and heart rate. Then you'll be given a needle with a radioactive tracer called Sestamibi, which lets us see how your heart is working.

After a wait of about 45 minutes to an hour, we'll take pictures of your heart at rest. You'll need to lie very still under a gamma camera with your arms above your head for half an hour.

You can then have a break, and you can eat something light (such as soup, sandwich, salad, water, juice or white milk). Please DO NOT have anything with caffeine during the break.

After the break, the technologist will set up two intravenous (IV) lines, one for each arm. Adenosine will go through one IV, and after 3 minutes, you'll get another needle of sestamibi into a second IV.

You'll need to lie very still again under the gamma camera – again with your arms above your head for 30 minutes. We have you keep still so that our pictures are clear. If you move, we may need to take more pictures.

The Results of Your Adenosine Sestamibi Test

Once the test is completed, the technologist uploads your results to your records. The physician/radiologist will write a report and send it to your doctor.

The technologist cannot give you the results during your visit.

Once the report is in your health record, your doctor can review it. You will get the results of the test from your doctor.

How Long Will Your Appointment Be?

The whole appointment for the adenosine sestamibi test takes about 4 to 5 hours. The first part of the test will take about 2 hours, and the second part will take about 90 minutes with a break in between.

We do everything that we can to stay on time. Unfortunately, your appointment may be delayed by unforeseen circumstances. We recommend that you come prepared for delays.​

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