This procedure is also known as Thallium scan, Exercise Stress test, Dipyridamole Stress test or Dobutamine stress test. This is a non-invasive test used to assess the regional blood supply (perfusion) to the heart.

Initially, you will have a stress test (exercise or pharmaceutical) and during this you will be given an injection of a radiopharmaceutical.  Pharmaceutical stress tests are used to replicate exercise in patients that are unable to perform an exercise test on a treadmill.

After you have recovered from the stress test, images of your heart will be taken with a Gamma camera.

Most patients will then need to return for an additional injection of radiopharmaceutical approximately 2 hours later, followed by images to show the heart at rest.

Before your Scan

Don’t eat or drink any caffeine, such as tea, coffee, chocolate, energy or cola drinks for 24 hours before the test.

Please wear clothing suitable for exercise.

Do not stop your medications unless instructed by your cardiologist.

If there is a possibility of pregnancy, we prefer to delay the test unless it is necessary. Only clinically urgent scans assessed by your referring doctor and our specialised Nuclear Medicine doctors will go ahead.

Some tests may need to be changed if you are breastfeeding or you may need to avoid breastfeeding for up to 1 hour after the test. Please tell us when you make your booking, and we will discuss this with you.


This test takes approximately 2 hours for stress testing and images, plus 1 hour for the rest images.

Risks / Side effects

Side effects from radiopharmaceuticals such as nausea, vomiting or a rash are very uncommon, occurring in approximately 1 in 10,000 people.

Other Information

After the test, the specialist will examine the results and send a report to your doctor.

Staff will advise you if there are any precautions you need to follow after your tests. For example, if you are breastfeeding, you may need to avoid breastfeeding for up to 1 hour after the test. It may be necessary to avoid close contact with pregnant women or young children for several hours after the test.

After the procedure, you can eat and drink as normal.

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