Persantine Stress Test

The Persantine stress test involves imaging of cardiac vessels under controlled conditions of stress. This test helps in figuring out the conditions of blood vessels and other areas of the heart that are not receiving enough amount of oxygen.

The Persantine stress test is conducted in integration with the myocardial perfusion imaging (MPI) or Cardolite. Cardolite induces stress and is used in cases where the patient is not able to walk on a treadmill. It uses a radioactive material that has a short half-life. This material is picked up by the imaging techniques that help in determining heart-related disorders.
The Persantine is injected intravenously along with the radioactive imaging material. The Persantine helps in the widening of the arteries. The arteries that are healthy show a better response to Persantine than the diseased ones.
The intravenous injection helps in spreading the material through the bloodstream. Due to the Persantine present, the nuclear imaging material spreads quickly throughout the healthy arteries. Thus distinguishing them from the diseased arteries that show less flow of blood through them. The test involves two parts. One part of the test is done under stress conditions.

While the other part of the test is done in resting condition. The resting phase of the test involves the injection of the nuclear imaging material in the vein of an arm. After the intravenous injection, the patient is asked to rest for 30 minutes. After the time, a resting phase scan is taken of the chest. The scan is taken with a help of an imaging machine that takes about 15 minutes to scan the chest. The second phase of the test involves the injection of Persantine along with a second round of
nuclear imaging material. Following the injection of the drug, the patient is asked to do a light exercise of about 4 minutes. Exercises that are generally prescribed by the doctor generally involve hand gripping exercise using softballs or swinging of legs. After the exercise, the patient is asked to rest for some time so that the imaging material spreads across the arteries. In general 30 minutes are given for this after which the patient is scanned again for 15 minutes.

During both the scans, the patient has to remain absolutely still so that a clear image of the heart can be obtained. The camera in the imaging device moves around the chest to get pictures at every cross-sectional angle of the heart. The device then constructs an image of the heart that shows temporary defects or blockages if present or even the permanent ones that are there due to heart damage that has occurred in the past.
Before the patient is taken up for the Persantine stress test, there are a few precautions that the patient needs to take. These include the following.

  •  The patient is advised not to drink or eat anything after midnight or the night before the test has to take place.
  •  The patient should abstain all form of caffeine and tobacco before 12 hours from the test
    and the whole day after the test.
  •  The doctor should know about all the medications that the patient is currently taking along with the allergies he or she   has.
  •  Careful consideration should be taken for patients with asthma or any lung disease.
  •  Before the test starts, the doctor is entitled to perform an EKG and blood pressure test to ensure that there are no abnormalities that are present in general. The motive behind it is that if there are any abnormally present then it may hinder the results of the test.

The patient should be advised about the medicines that he or she is already taking before and after the test. This should be done to ensure that none of the components of the medicine taken interacts with or interferes with the Persantine that is given to the patients. This should also be done for patients with any heart disease or diabetes. The test on an average takes 3-4 hours of time to get completed. Along with that, the results of the test are being produced after 48-72 hours of the test.

Persantine may sometimes have some severe side effects such as warm, flushed feeling along with a headache, nausea and chest pain. These may cause some definite harm to the patient. Subsequently, to reverse the side effects of Persantine, a drug known as Aminophylline is given to the patients, intravenously. The radioactive material, Cardiolite is known to have no side effects. Unless the patient is pregnant, it is quite safe to use it for imaging techniques.

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