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Nuclear Medicine

Non-Invasive Diagnostic Procedures in Bakersfield

The Nuclear Medicine Department offers our cardiologists non-invasive diagnostics for those patients with cardiac symptoms who have had a history of cardiovascular disease or are being considered for a procedure. These tests monitor blood flow to and from your heart through your arteries and can pinpoint areas of blockage or impairment that may require further intervention. There are three different kinds of tests used to determine the right course of treatment for our patients.

Exercise Treadmill Test (ETT)

An exercise treadmill test (ETT) is the most basic test that monitors heart rhythm and blood pressure during physical exertion, to detect the presence of coronary artery disease and arrhythmias. During an ETT, the patient exercises on a treadmill while an electrocardiogram (EKG) monitors the patient’s heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing.

Myocardial Perfusion Imaging (MPI)

Myocardial perfusion imaging (MPI) is a non-invasive nuclear stress test that not only monitors EKG rhythm and blood pressure, but also shows heart blood flow. This type of test is useful to determine if a patient’s chest discomfort is due to a lack of blood flow to the heart muscle caused by narrowed or blocked heart arteries. This test uses a tiny amount of a radioactive substance, a tracer, to travel through the bloodstream and is absorbed by the patient’s heart muscle during exercise on a treadmill and at rest. If a patient is unable to exercise, the patient can be administered a pharmacologic injection that increases the blood flow to your heart muscle to mimic exercising.

There are two techniques for myocardial perfusion imaging:

  1. Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT)
  2. Positron Emission Tomography (PET)