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The exercise thallium 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.
A technologist will first ask you questions about your medical history, do an
ECG and check your blood pressure and heart rate.
Then he or she will set up an intravenous (IV) line in your arm or hand, and when you are ready you will 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 thallium (a radioactive tracer). You'll keep going on the treadmill for another minute.
The next step is to take pictures. 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 will 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.
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 appointment will take about 4 to 5 hours. The first part of the test will take about an hour and a half. Then 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.
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.