Equilibrium angiocardioscintigraphy

What is it?

The examination involves intravenous injection of a small amount of radioactive material and detection, by means of special equipment (gamma camera), of the distribution of the injected substance in the heart muscle in resting conditions and after a stimulus (physical or pharmacological stress), which determines an increase in flow through the coronary arteries.

If there are differences between the distribution of the radiopharmaceutical in a resting condition and after stimulus, the presence of coronary artery disease can be assumed. Since 2011 is available a new range-camera dedicated to cardiac studies (MN 530 - General Electric), which allows shorter tomographic time frame than others and to administer a lower dose of radiopharmaceutical to the patient, thus significantly reducing the radiation exposure.

The studies are performed on a single-day basis, i.e. performing the study after physical or pharmacological stress and in rest conditions during the same day.

For particular needs it is possible to perform the test on two different days.

When is this exam indicated?

Equilibrium angio cardio scintigraphy provides information on cardiac contractility and functionality and any cardiac disorder. Obtainable parameters are ejection fraction, i.e. the volume of blood pumped at each contraction; maximum ejection and filling velocity of the heart; cardiac output; analysis of ventricular phase and amplitude; and parietal kinetics.

  • cardiotoxicity due to chemotherapies
  • defibrillator implantation and resynchronization
  • ventricular dyssynchrony

How is it performed?

To perform the examination, a non-radioactive substance (stannous agent), which binds to red blood cells, is administered and, after about 20 minutes, Technetium-99m (radioactive substance) is administered. Both administrations must be performed intravenously and possibly without the use of venous access, to ensure better quality of the examination.

Then we proceed to the acquisition of images on the gamma camera: electrodes are placed to allow an acquisition synchronized to the heart rhythm while the patient is lying on the bench. The examination is easy to perform, it is neither invasive nor painful, it requires immobility during its execution, and has an average duration of about 20 minutes. No specific preparation is necessary.


The only contraindication is pregnancy. There are no other absolute contraindications to the examination. However, it is necessary to provide your clinical documentation on the day of the examination in order to identify the presence of any conditions that could require a postponement of the examination (e.g. recent transfusion). However, for special needs, it is possible to perform the test on two different days.

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