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  • Persantine Cardiolite Test FAQ

    Persantine Cardiolite Test

    The Persantine Cardiolite Test evaluates the adequacy of blood supply to the heart muscle. The heart muscle receives blood from vessels called coronary arteries. If these arteries become partially blocked or narrowed, the heart muscle may not receive the blood it needs to function properly. This narrowing of coronary arteries is called coronary artery disease (CAD).

    With CAD, the heart muscle may not receive sufficient blood supply when under stress, which may result in chest pain called angina or other symptoms, or may not produce any outward physical signs of the problem. A Persantine Cardiolite Test is useful in detecting the presence of CAD.

    You can have a light breakfast with juice the morning of the test but no caffeine (no tea, decaffeinated products, chocolate, soda pop or medications containing caffeine).

    Bring a list of all present medications.

    Your physician may decide to temporarily discontinue certain heart medications prior to the test. These are discontinued because they may offset the effectiveness of the test. Your physician MUST inform you whether to discontinue these heart medications 48 hours prior to the test. DO NOT STOP any medication on your own without checking with your physician. You may resume taking your medications following the Persantine portion of the test and throughout the remainder of the test.

    Prior to the test, you will be asked to sign a consent form. Please read it carefully and if you have any questions, ask the technologist or the physician supervising the test. He or she can explain the entire procedure before it begins.

    An intravenous will be inserted into your arm which is used to inject the Cardiolite radioisotope into your blood stream. The Cardiolite is carried by the blood stream to the heart muscle.

    The technologist will take pictures of your heart approximately one hour after the injection of the Cardiolite. You will have to lie down on a special table and a gamma camera, that can detect radiation, will visualize the Cardiolite in your heart muscle. The camera is positioned close to your chest and rotates slowly around you taking pictures as it moves. It takes up to 20 minutes to take these pictures and it is important to lie as still as possible during this time to avoid blurring the images.

    Several electrode pads will be placed on your chest after the first set of pictures have been taken. These pads will be connected to an electrocardiograph (ECG) monitor so that your heart rhythm can be watched closely throughout the test.

    A drug called Persantine, which increases blood flow to your heart muscle, will be injected into the intravenous in your arm. Your heart rate may rise and blood pressure may drop. This is a normal response and it will be monitored along with the ECG.

    Persantine may cause a flushed feeling, dizziness, palpitations or chest pain. If you experience any of these symptoms at any time during the test, immediately tell the individual monitoring the test so adjustments can be made. If your symptoms continue to worsen and persist, a drug called Aminophylline will be injected to reverse significant side effects.

    A second dose of Cardiolite will be injected into your blood stream via the intravenous after the Persantine injection. If blood flow is limited due to CAD, then the amount of Cardiolite in your heart muscle is reduced.

    The intravenous will be removed and you may leave the clinic after the Persantine test is completed. However, you must return for a second set of pictures. Your return time will be determined by the technologist. The second set of pictures does not require another injection of Persantine or Cardiolite and will only take 20-30 minutes. The second set of pictures is compared with the first set to assess the blood supply to your heart muscle after Persantine infusion and at rest.

    A written report will be sent to your physician upon completion of analysis of the test. Your physician will then explain the test results to you.

    The first portion lasts approximately 2-3 hours and consists of imaging followed by a stress test. The patient will then wait 45-60 minutes before additional imaging which takes about 30 minutes.

    The injection of Cardiolite results in a small amount of radiation exposure to your body that is comparable to naturally occurring sources (food, air, water, the ground and materials).

    The radiation you receive is not felt, seen, smelled or tasted, nor does it make you or your clothing radioactive.


    The Cardiolite is eliminated from the body within 3-4 days without leaving any trace or effect.

    The Persantine stress portion of the test constitutes a risk factor equivalent to 1, 500 kilometers of highway driving.


    You can take your heart medications after completion of the first portion of the test.

    You will be able to drive after the test. Please inform the technologist if you will be traveling by airplane, train or crossing the border within one week after your test.

    An adverse reaction to the Cardiolite is extremely rare.

    If you are pregnant or there is a possibility of pregnancy, or if you are breastfeeding, a Persantine Cardiolite Test may be inappropriate for you at this time.

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