WHAT IS A THALLIUM (OR SESTAMIBI) STRESS TEST?
A thallium (or sestamibi) test is a more sophisticated stress test. During this test, after you exercise a small amount of radioactive thallium (or technitium) is injected into your vein. A special camera then images the heart. Areas of the heart which are deprived of blood supply do not take up the injected thallium and can be detected by the camera. The thallium stress test is more sensitive and specific than an ordinary stress test and has less false positive or false negative results. However, it involves injection of a small amount of radiation and is more expensive than a stress ECG.
WHAT IF I CANNOT PERFORM A STRESS TEST?
If you are unable to exercise, a 'Dobutamine Stress Echo' (see previous chapter), or 'Dobutamine Stress Thallium' or 'Adenosine Thallium' tests can be done. Tests such as 'Cardiac CT' or 'Cardiac MRI' are other means to get some idea about the coronary arteries. However, coronary angiography (see next chapter) remains the 'gold standard' to assess the status of the coronary arteries.
Cardio & Blood