Medical Imaging

Nuclear Medicine > Exams & Procedures > Myocardial Viability Scan - Thallium Rest & Redistribution Scan

This scan evaluates the blood flow to the heart, demonstrating the regional level of function of the heart tissue.

This scan involves the injection of a radioactive tracer into a vein. 15 to 20 minutes after the injection, a set of pictures is taken that determine tracer distribution to the heart according to the blood flow. The pictures are repeated three to four hours after tracer injection to evaluate the redistribution of the tracer through the bloodstream over time.

Preparation

  • No coffee, tea, or caffeine products for 24 hours prior to the test.
  • No food or drink for two hours prior to the test.
  • Bring a list of all medications and supplements you take. This includes vitamins, herbal remedies, and holistic medications.
  • Do not bring children or pregnant women with you to the department. We do not want to expose them to unnecessary radiation.
  • Any of these procedures is subject to change according to the nuclear medicine physician. The duration of the tests is a rough estimate. Please be aware that the time may be lengthened if a scan has to be repeated, if emergency cases are brought to the department or due to unforeseen circumstances.

About the Procedure

The procedure takes about four and a half hours.

Rest Injection and Scan
  • A technologist will briefly explain the test to you and try to answer any questions you may have about the procedure.
  • A technologist will ask you a few questions about your medical history and medications.
  • A technologist will give you an injection of the tracer into a vein.
  • You will be asked to undress from the waist up and be given a hospital gown to wear.
  • A technologist will place electrode stickers on your chest that allow us to monitor your heart rate throughout the test.
  • An electrocardiogram (ECG) will be taken while you are at rest.
  • You will be asked to lie down on a bed, and wires will be connected to the electrode stickers.
  • Your arms will be placed above your head and cameras will be positioned around your heart.
  • Pictures will be taken for about 30 minutes. It is very important that you do not move during these pictures because movement blurs the pictures and they will have to be taken again.
  • You will be given a three to four hour break before the next set of pictures.
Redistribution Scan
  • After your break, the pictures will be repeated as they were before.
  • You will be asked to lie down on an imaging bed.
  • Your arms will be placed above your head and cameras will be positioned around your heart.
  • Pictures will be taken for about 30 minutes. It is very important that you do not move during these pictures because movement blurs the pictures and they will have to be taken again.