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Stress Test - Cardiac PET (Positron Emission Tomography)

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What is PET Dipyridamole stress test?

This procedure is used to evaluate the adequacy of the blood supply to the heart muscle during periods of stress and rest. Dipyridamole is a medicine used to temporarily expand or increase the size of the coronary arteries. (view info on traditional SPECT nuclear stress tests)

A radioactive tracer used to examine coronary artery circulation.  The arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle can become clogged or narrowed from the buildup of plaque (atherosclerosis or coronary artery disease).  The tracer images allow us to see the heart muscle that is receiving the blood supply.

Upon arrival at Florida Heart Group

A nurse or nuclear medicine technologist will escort you to an exam room to explain the procedure.  You will be asked to sign a consent form and any questions will be answered at this time.  An intravenous line will be started in your arm to administer the radioactive tracer and the Dipyridamole (Persantine).

The nurse will prepare your chest for the placement of small plastic pads for monitoring and obtaining a baseline EKG.  You will be asked to lie flat on your back on an imaging table with your arms above your head.  It is very important for you to lie as still as possible during the imaging session except for normal breathing.

You will be injected with the radioactive tracer through the IV line and rest images are acquired.  The Dipyridamole (Persantine) medicine is gradually given through the IV line.  Then you are given more radioactive tracer through the IV line and the stress images are acquired.  During this time, if you develop any discomfort, please inform the nurse.

Upon completion of the stress images, the EKG pads and IV will be removed.

After the test is completed, you may resume your regular diet and routine.  You should have a scheduled follow up appointment to discuss the results of the test.  A copy of the report will be sent to your referring physician.

What to Expect

The test usually takes about 50 minutes, of which 35 minutes is under the camera.  You will be injected with the drug Rubidium – 82, which most will be out of your system when the test is completed.  The stress agent is Persantine which is a vasodilator, which will help to open up the blood vessels and simulates a person under stress.  You may experience some side effects such as headaches, flushing, nausea, and fatigue.  Not all patients experience these symptoms.  You will be given Aminophylline after the stress which will reverse the effects of the Persantine.  You will be under constant supervision by the technologist and RN during the entire procedure where your blood pressure and heart rhythm will be carefully monitored.  A Florida Heart Group physician is immediately available if any issues or concerns should arise.

Very Important!

If you need to cancel or reschedule this test, you MUST call 48 hours prior to the appointment time at 407.894.4474 x1129 or x1171

If you do not show for the appointment, or you do not give 48 hours notice of need to cancel or reschedule, you will be charged a fee of $100.00 to cover the cost of the drugs ordered for your test.

To learn more or to contact our practice, please call 407.894.4474 to request an appointment.