Myocardial Perfusion Test with Exercise Stress (Outpatient)

Purpose of the Test

A myocardial perfusion scan is a non-invasive test. It is used to diagnose coronary artery disease (CAD), evaluate heart function and determine the best treatment for people who have CAD.

Patient Instructions


  • Do not eat 4 hours before the test.
  • Do not have caffeine 12 hours before the test.
  • Examples of products with caffeine:
    • Chocolate
    • Coffee (regular & decaf)
    • Soft drinks
    • Tea
    • Anacin
    • Cafergot
    • Darvon
    • Esgic
    • Excedrin
    • Fioricet
    • Fiorinal
    • NoDoz
    • Norgesic
    • Synalgos-DC
    • Wigraine
  • Drink fluids as usual.
  • If you have diabetes, take insulin as usual. Eat breakfast 2 hours before your test. If you have questions about insulin/diet, talk to your primary care doctor.


  • Take all prescribed medicines unless told not to by your doctor.
  • Bring medicines with you.
  • Do not take erectile dysfunction (ED) medicines 48 hours before the test.

Test Time

  • Plan for at least 4 hours.


  • Wear shorts, comfortable slacks or sweatpants.
  • Do not wear panty hose.
  • Wear tennis shoes or comfortable walking shoes.


  • Do not smoke the morning of the test.

The Test

  • You will sign a consent form giving us the go-ahead to do the test.
  • We will place an intravenous (IV) line into your arm or hand. We will use this line to give you very small amounts of radioactive substances (isotopes). These isotopes allow a special camera to “see” blood flow.
  • A nuclear medicine technologist will inject the first isotope into your IV. After waiting at least 30 to 60 minutes for the isotope to enter your heart muscle, we will take the first scan of your heart. This scan may take up to 30 minutes.
  • When the first scan is done, we will get you ready for the “stress” part of your test. We will prepare the skin on your chest where the electrodes will be placed with a coarse lotion. We may have to shave some hair from the chests of male patients. Doing so ensures the electrodes make good contact with the chest to accurately monitor your heart’s rhythm.
  • You will then walk on the treadmill. An exercise physiologist will watch the monitor for any rhythm problems or changes that may suggest heart disease.
  • We will closely watch your heart rate, blood pressure and heart rhythm (ECG).
  • When you reach your peak exercise on the treadmill, the nuclear medicine technologist will inject the second dose of isotope. If you are not able to reach your maximum level of exercise, your doctor may use an IV medication to increase the blood flow to the heart and “mimic” the physical exercise response.
  • When done, we will take a second scan of your heart. This scan may take up to 20 minutes.

If you have any questions, please call CentraCare Heart & Vascular Center at 320-656-7020 or 800-448-3455.