What is a thallium scan?
A thallium scan is a test, usually performed with treadmill stress or a "drug" stressing agent, to see the blood supply to the muscle of your heart.
Why do I need a thallium scan?
Your doctor needs to know if your heart muscle is getting enough blood at rest and at exercise.
How do I prepare for my thallium scan?
You must do without food or drink from midnight the night before. You will be asked by your doctor to stay off almost all medicine including insulin the morning of your scan. Wear comfortable shoes and loose-fitting clothing, preferably slacks.
What can I expect during the test?
You will have an I.V. started in your arm and electrodes placed on your chest. You will walk on the treadmill or receive a drug to "exercise" your heart. While exercise is taking place, you will get an injection into the I.V. tubing.
After the exercise, you will get three or four more EKGs, then move to a narrow scanning table. You must lie very still for the pictures. You will have to hold your left arm up above your head (it will rest on the pillow) for a 20-minute picture. If this is impossible, let the technologist know before your test is started.
After the scan is done, you are free to leave for approximately two hours. Then you must return for a second set of images. These images are necessary to compare your heart at exercise and rest to see if there is a difference. You must not eat or drink, except for water, during this time. When you return, you will have another set of "pictures". You will not walk on the treadmill or have more "drug stress". When you are finished with the second pictures, you will then be able to eat and drink.