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The test gives us information about how your heart is working. We'll watch you closely as you exercise on a treadmill so that we can measure how well your heart handles this kind of activity.
The 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.
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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.
When you arrive at the
Nuclear Cardiology Lab, check in at the reception desk. Please have the following ready:
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.
The test has two parts. First, 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 an intravenous (IV) line in your arm or hand. Then you'll start exercising. The treadmill will start slowly and change speed and elevation every 3 minutes.
When your heart rate reaches a certain level, the technologist will inject a small amount of Sestamibi. You'll keep going on the treadmill for one more minute.
The next step is to take pictures of your heart after exercise. You need to lie very still under the gamma camera with your arms above your head for 30 minutes.
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.
The whole appointment for the exercise 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.
You will be contacted with information about your first appointment.
Please bring the following to your appointment. Not all of these items may be needed for your appointment. Our clinic or your referring doctor will let you know what you must bring.
Please arrive 15 minutes before your appointment.
When you arrive, you will sign in with the receptionist. You will need your health card (OHIP card) to sign-in. If you do not have an OHIP card, please bring another form of government-issued photo ID, such as a driver’s license or passport.
You may be given a Measuring Health Equity Questionnaire to fill out. This form contains questions about your background. We collect this information to find out who we serve and what unique needs you may have. The form is voluntary and you can choose ‘prefer not to answer’ to any or all questions. However, the information you choose to give us will help us improve the quality of care for you and others.
First appointments take longer than follow-up appointments. Your first appointment can take 2 hours or more. Follow-up appointments usually take 15 to 30 minutes. We do everything we can to stay on time but sometimes unforeseen circumstances may delay your appointment.
At the end of your first appointment, the nurse or doctor will give you a contact list for your health care team. If you don’t get a contact list, feel free to ask for it.
After every appointment, a member of your health care team will tell you about your next visit. Be sure you understand what is going to happen next. For example, know the time and place of your next visit or if someone will call you with this information.
If you are unsure about what your next steps are, don’t be afraid to ask a member of your team. We are here to help you.
We understand that reaching us by phone can sometimes be difficult. Often our phone lines are busy or are turned over to the message centre so our staff can prepare for clinic visits or help other patients. We make every effort to return your call within 24 hours. Our staff will try to reach you 2 times. If we are not able to reach you directly you may need to call us again.