What to Expect

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 Dobutamine Thallium 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 change 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 Dobutamine Thallium Test

A technologist will first ask you questions about your medical history, do an ECG​ ​and check your blood pressure and heart rate. Then we'll set up an intravenous (IV) line in your arm and give you an infusion of Dobutamine for 15 minutes while we check your heart rate, ECG and blood pressure. A needle of thallium (a radioactive tracer) will be given to you right after the Dobutamine infusion is complete.

The next step is to take pictures of your heart. You need to lie very still under a gamma camera with your arms above your head for 30 minutes.

Then you'll have a 2 to 3 hour break. You can only drink clear fluids while on break.

When you return, we'll take another set of pictures, this time of your heart at rest. 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 Dobutamine Thallium 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 B​e?​

The appointment for the dobutamine thallium test will take about 4 to 5 hours. The first part will take about an hour and a half, and after a break, the second part will take about 45 minutes.​

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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