MEDICAL CENTER DÜSSELDORF
In myocardial/heart scintigraphy, the circulation of your heart muscle, or myocardium, is depicted through the use of low level radiation. This examination allows us to detect any dysfunction in circulation at an early stage and optimally monitor existing diseases. Myocardial scintigraphy is a gentle and non-invasive examination method. Cardiac catheters are not used during the procedure.
Myocardial scintigraphy begins with a stress test in which your circulation is stimulated. The stimulation is performed with a physical test on a bicycle ergometer. After a 45 minute break for breakfast, we use a special gamma camera to take an image of the blood flow to your heart.
The purpose of this special camera is to determine and display how the radioactive substance is distributed in your body. We can thereby diagnose any anomalies quickly and precisely and determine how well the blood flows to your heart.
The myocardial scintigraphy is then repeated while you are in a resting state. By comparing the two images, we can arrive at an accurate diagnosis.
You are in a seated position during the exam. Because the test is performed with an open camera, it is also suitable for patients with claustrophobia.
In order to have results ready for you as quickly as possible, both parts of the test are generally performed during one appointment. The entire exam takes approx. 3.5 hours.
Myocardial scintigraphy cannot be performed if the patient is pregnant. Nursing women may take the test under certain conditions.
Yes. The examination is a standard benefit from all social and private health insurance funds.
By comparing resting images with those from the stress test, we can determine whether certain regions of the heart experience poor circulation when under stress.
After a heart attack, heart scintigraphy can help determine the extent and severity of the myocardial scarring left by the heart attack. If the examination reveals that parts of the myocardial tissue within the infarct area still have vital function, the cardiologist can take certain measures to improve blood circulation to the affected coronary artery. This can alleviate the impact of the infarct and improve cardiovascular strength.
In addition, myocardial scintigraphy allows us to evaluate the pumping function of the cardiac muscle tissue and thus assess physical capacity as well.
Our treating physicians carefully assess which examination methods are the least strenuous and most appropriate for our patients on a case by case basis. The radioactive substance does produce a low exposure to radiation – approximately as much as would occur with an abdominal X-ray exam.
Unlike with X-ray contrast agents, side effects – such as allergies – do not occur during administration of the radioactive substance.
If you are not able to take the stress test on the bicycle due to your current condition, we also have a medication that can simulate a stress situation without physically straining your heart. The effect of the medication is very well manageable and the procedure takes only three minutes. During this period, you will be monitored at all times with a stress ECG.