What is Myocardial Perfusion Scanning (MPS)?
A myocardial perfusion scan (MPS) shows blood flow to the heart using a small amount of radioactive substance to create images. The myocardial perfusion looks at the pumping action of your heart and the flow of blood to your heart. This can help in diagnose coronary heart disease, or show the benefits of having a coronary angioplasty or coronary bypass surgery.
What happens during a Myocardial Perfusion Scanning
A small amount of radioactive substance is injected into your blood stream so that your blood flow can be detected by a special camera.
The camera is positioned close to your chest to take pictures of different parts of the heart, very similar to an x-ray. This test is done in two parts – when your heart is stressed, and when your heart is resting.
To stress the heart, before you are injected you will be asked to exercise on a piece of exercise apparatus. If you cannot exercise, your consultant may administer some medicine to increase your heart rate instead.
An hour later, after you’ve eaten and drank to clear the radiation from your system, you will go back and be injected again. Whilst you are lying on the bed, with a rested heart, the camera then collects the same images.
Risks of a Myocardial Perfusion Scanning
Whilst it is a small amount, you will be exposed to some radiation during this test. There are usually no side effects from this type of scan but you may feel a bit breathless with the medicines given.
There are a few factors to remember:
- Don’t have any food or drink containing caffeine at least 24-hours before the test
- You must tell the consultant if you are pregnant or breastfeeding
- You need to lie as still as possible for this test to be effective