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  • Persantine Ventricular Function Test FAQ

    Persantine Ventricular Function Test

    The Persantine Ventricular Function Test evaluates the pumping action of the heart. The heart muscle receives blood supply 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 Ventricular Function 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, coffee, soda pop, chocolate 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. A substance called Stannous Pyrophosphate, which is taken up by the red blood cells, will be injected into the blood stream via the intravenous. It takes 20-30 minutes for the Pyrophosphate to circulate in the blood stream. A second injection via the intravenous contains a radioactive substance called Sodium Pertechnetate (Technetium-99m). The Pyrophosphate helps with the labeling of the red blood cells by Technetium-99m.

    You will have to lie down on a special table and a gamma camera, that can detect radiation, will visualize the Technetium which is in the blood in your heart. The camera is positioned close to your chest and a set of four pictures will be taken. It takes 2-3 minutes to take each picture 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 you can be watched closely throughout the test.

    A drug called Persantine, which increases blood flow to the heart muscle, will be injected into the intravenous. Your heart rate may rise and blood pressure may drop. This is a normal response and it will be monitored along with your 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, you must immediately tell the individual monitoring the test so adjustments can be made. If symptoms continue to worsen and persist, a drug called Aminophylline will be injected to reverse significant side effects.

    A second set of pictures will be taken post Persantine infusion. These pictures are compared with the first set to assess heart function at rest and post Persantine stress.

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

    The entire test lasts approximately one and a half hours.

    The injection of Technetium-99m results in a small amount of radiation exposure to your body. It is comparable to the amount of radiation you already receive from all 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 Technetium-99m is almost completely eliminated from the body within 24 hours. However, negligible amounts may be detected by the sensitive radiation detectors in cross border and airport securities.

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


    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 six weeks after your test for a letter confirming the test was performed.

    An adverse reaction to the Technetium-99m has never been reported. However, infrequent cases of rashes due to the Pyrophosphate have been reported. These were treated with no further complications.

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

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