An adenosine thallium scan, also known as a myocardial perfusion scan or thallium stress test, is a medical imaging test used to assess the blood flow to the heart muscle. It is typically performed in patients with suspected coronary artery disease, a condition in which the blood vessels that supply the heart muscle become narrowed or blocked, leading to decreased blood flow and potentially life-threatening complications such as heart attack.
During the test, a small amount of radioactive material (usually thallium or technetium) is injected into a vein in the patient’s arm. The material then travels through the bloodstream and is taken up by the heart muscle. A special camera is used to capture images of the heart at rest and during exercise or pharmacological stress, such as the administration of adenosine, which temporarily increases blood flow to the heart.
The images obtained from the adenosine thallium scan can help identify areas of the heart muscle that are not receiving enough blood flow, indicating the presence of blockages in the coronary arteries. This information can be used to guide further diagnostic testing and treatment decisions, such as coronary angiography or bypass surgery.
Adenosine thallium scans are generally safe and well-tolerated by patients, although some may experience mild side effects such as flushing, chest discomfort, or shortness of breath during the administration of adenosine. Patients should also inform their healthcare provider if they have a history of asthma, heart disease, or other medical conditions that may affect their ability to undergo the test safely.
In summary, an adenosine thallium scan is a medical imaging test used to assess blood flow to the heart muscle in patients with suspected coronary artery disease. The test involves the injection of a small amount of radioactive material and the use of a special camera to capture images of the heart at rest and during stress. The information obtained from the test can help guide further diagnostic testing and treatment decisions.