Ocala Doctors

There is no need to stress if your doctor suggests a "stress test". The Stress/Rest Myocardial Perfusion Imaging (MPI) Study is a type of stress test that uses PET or SPECT imaging of a patient’s heart before and after exercise to evaluate the effect of physical stress on the flow of blood through the coronary arteries and the heart muscle. The 3-D images produced by this study are called perfusion images. This is because they show which areas of the heart muscle are perfused, or supplied, with blood.

The stress/rest MPI may also be referred to as a cardiac or nuclear stress test, a thallium scan or a sestamibi cardiac scan. A physician may perform a Stress/Rest MPI study to determine whether a patient is a candidate for revascularization, a surgical procedure that restores blood flow. The test can also discover the extent of coronary stenosis, a narrowing of arteries that supply blood to the heart. Doctors also use these tests to diagnose symptoms of coronary artery disease(CAD), such as shortness of breath or chest pain. Abnormal perfusion scans are very indicative of CAD. Stress tests can assess damage to the heart muscle following a heart attack. They can also reveal the overall function of the heart muscle heart and the function of individual muscle walls.

The ECG Stress Test is simple and non-invasive. When performing an ECG Stress Test, (also called exercise treadmill testing), electrodes are placed on the patient’s chest and attached to an electrocardiography (ECG) machine that measures the electrical activity of the heart. The patient then exercises by walking or running on a treadmill or pedaling a stationary bicycle, first slowly and then faster and on an incline. Blood pressure readings are taken during the test, which typically involves 10-15 minutes of exercising.

Patients who are unable for various reasons to exercise may receive an injection of a medication that will make the heart beat fast, as would happen during exercise (called a pharmacological stress test). The ECG records the heart rate and rhythm, as well as the strength and timing of electrical signals as they pass through each part of the heart during rest and exercise. Note that those patients who have an abnormal