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Thallium Stress Test

A thallium stress test is a nuclear medicine study that shows your physician how well blood flows through your heart muscle while you're exercising or at rest. This exam also allows your physician to visualize whether there has been any damage done to your heart by any problems you may have had previously.

Why is thallium used in a stress test?

A Thallium Treadmill stress test is much like a regular treadmill stress test, the difference is the use of an isotope dye (Thallium) that provides the physician additional information on the coronary blood flow of the patient.

Who is referred a Thallium stress Test??

Your doctor may order a thallium test for a variety of reasons, including:
if they suspect your heart isn’t getting enough blood flow when it’s under stress — for example, when you exercise

  • If you have chest pain or worsening angina
  • If you’ve had a previous heart attack
  • To check how well medications are working
  • To determine whether a procedure or surgery was successful
  • To determine whether your heart is healthy enough to start an exercise program

Which is better stress thallium vs angiography?

This gives thallium scintigraphy a positive predictive value of 93% and a negative predictive value of 69% when compared with angiography. Thallium scintigraphy is a useful modality in the detection of coronary artery disease in diabetic patients.

How accurate is a thallium stress test?

Evidence-Based Answer. In appropriately referred patients with chest pain, the sensitivity of thallium stress tests is 70% to 92% to detect coronary artery disease (CAD) requiring revascularization

Can a stress test show a blockage?

Stress tests can detect when arteries have 70% or more blockage. This severe narrowing is what causes the severe chest pain called angina. But normal results from a stress test do not rule out the possibility of a future heart attack. This is because a plaque can still rupture, form clots and block an artery.

How stress thallium test is done?

  • A radioisotope or radiopharmaceutical medication, such as thallium or sestamibi, is injected through the IV. The radioactive material marks your blood flow and is picked up by the gamma camera. The test includes an exercise and resting portion, and your heart is photographed during both.
  • Resting portion

During this part of the test, you lie down for 15 to 45 minutes while the radioactive material works its way through your body to your heart. You then lie down on an exam table with your arms above your head, and a gamma camera above you takes pictures.

What does a thallium scan show?

A thallium stress test is a nuclear medicine study that shows your physician how well blood flows through your heart muscle while you're exercising or at rest.
It shows –

  • The size of your heart chambers
  • How effectively your heart pumps —that is, its ventricular function
  • How well your coronary arteries supply your heart with blood, known as myocardial perfusion
  • If your heart muscle is damaged or scarred from previous heart attacks

What happens if I fail a stress test?

An abnormal result, which means your heart's blood flow is insufficient, may occur only during the exercise phase of your stress test. During rest, your blood flow may be normal, but during strenuous activity, when your heart is working harder, it may not be getting the blood supply it needs.

How do you do a thallium scan?

You will be asked to lie on a table, then a small amount of thallium (a radioactive tracer) is injected into a vein in your arm. A special camera then measures the amount of the tracer that is carried through your bloodstream into your heart.

Risks and complications of a thallium stress test –

Rare complications from the test may include:

  • Arrhythmia, or irregular heart beat
  • Increased angina, or pain from poor blood flow in your heart
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Asthma-like symptoms
  • Large swings in blood pressure
  • Skin rashes
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest discomfort
  • Dizziness
  • Heart palpitations, or an irregular heart beat