Doctors are able to get more accurate and complete information about how a patient's heart is functioning through a type of stress test called Cardiolite imaging.
An exercise stress test with Cardiolite imaging is a diagnostic test that compares two heart scans. The first heart scan is a baseline scan done while a patient is at rest. An isotope, call Cardiolite, is injected by IV into the bloodstream and the "resting" heart scan is obtained. The Cardiolite circulates to the heart muscle and a scanning camera traces the amount of Cardiolite absorbed by the heart muscle.
A treadmill exercise test is then performed to "stress" the heart and see how it responds to an increased heart rate. During the last stage of the exercise test, Cardiolite is again given by IV injection. Then the "post-exercise" heart scan is obtained.
Cardiolite has a low degree of radioactivity that allows it to be used safely as a tracing agent.
Images from the two heart scans are compared. The doctor looks for differences in the circulation of the Cardiolite isotope after rest and after exercise. Significant differences in these images may indicate a problem with the heart's blood supply from the coronary arteries.
Exercise stress tests with Cardiolite imaging are performed in the Radiology Department by a patient's physician and/or registered nurse. The test can be performed in Barron or Rice Lake.
For more information about Cardiolite imaging, please call the Radiology Department at 715-537-9907.