Heart scan

Last May I had a lot of medical tests in preparation for my radical prostatectomy, and several of them found “anomalies” that need further tests. Yesterday (Sep 10) was a Persantine test – a multi-part scan for heart disease using radioactive dye.

[image of camera used in heart scan]

The test takes about five hours total. Times below are within about 5 minutes.

  • 9:00 Show up and take care of paperwork such as consent forms.
  • 9:15 Get injection of radioactive dye; over the next few minutes drink a cup of milk followed by a half-litre of water.
  • 1015 Called in for start of the “not exercising” part of the test. They put a couple of electrodes on my chest and abdomen, and put me in the scanner (shown above) for about 15 minutes. The scanner is a camera that takes images of the radioactive dye that spread into the blood vessels of my heart. Setup and finishing took it all to 1050.
  • I was told to have a zero-caffeine lunch and be back at noon. Not even any herbal tea; didn’t realize there was the least risk of caffeine with that. I had orange juice.
  • 12:00 Back for the “exercising” part of the test, which they mimic with injection of Persantine via IV; it basically dilates blood vessels. They hooked me up to a blood pressure cuff and heart monitor while they injected the drug, followed by the radioactive dye, followed by the antidote to the drug. Done by 1240 and told to be back by 1:30.
  • 13:50 Procedure finished. I was feeling quite head-achy so took a taxi home instead of the usual bus.
The headache kept getting worse, to the point where I was sick to my stomach. Later, a friend pointed out that dilated blood vessels in the brain is the root cause of migraine headaches, which is possibly what happened to me. Fortunately it lasted less long than a real migraine. Acute headaches are listed as a “less common” side effect, so I guess once again I “lucked out”.😖 My doctor had ordered Dobutamine , but the clinic substituted Persantine because it generally has fewer side effects; I do wonder whether I’d have been better off with the original, but I have to defer to the expertise of the heart clinic doctors.
This morning I feel better, though quite tired.
It’ll be about two weeks before my doctor gets the results.

Update 13 Sep: Three days, not two weeks: no sign of any heart disease.

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