CI Exercise

CI exercise at Apex Radiology is an integral part of our commitment to delivering exceptional patient care and maintaining the highest standards of service. Coronary heart disease, the foremost cause of mortality in Australia, results from the gradual accumulation of fatty deposits on the inner walls of the coronary arteries. These vital arteries supply blood to the heart muscles. Termed atherosclerosis, the formation of these fatty plaques can reach a critical point, leading to diminished blood flow and triggering angina (chest pain) or potentially resulting in a heart attack. Importantly, the process of plaque buildup in arteries commences early in life and may progress significantly by middle age.

  • What is CI Exercise

    A Stress Myocardial Perfusion Scan examines the blood supply (perfusion) to the heart muscle using a gamma camera. The blood supply is made visible to the camera by the introduction of a small amount of radioactive tracer, (radiopharmaceutical or MIBI) injected into an arm vein. The injection is given during stress exercise on a treadmill, then again while resting later on.

    After each injection, a gamma camera placed over the chest takes images (maps) the pattern of tracer accumulated in the heart’s left ventricle, giving information useful in diagnosing and managing conditions such as coronary artery disease, infarcts and diseases of the heart musclecardiomyopathy.

  • Before your procedure

    What to bring

    • Your referral form
    • Any relevant previous imaging
    • Your Medicare card and any concession cards
    • All of your current medications in their containers


    A referral from your doctor or medical specialist, and an appointment is required for this examination.

    Before you attend your appointment, please read and follow the printed instructions exactly.

    During the 24 hours before your appointment time:

    • DO NOT drink any tea, coffee, chocolate or cola drinks (even small amounts).
    • DO NOT eat anything containing caffeine (even small amounts).
    • DO NOT eat chocolate.
    • DO eat a light breakfast on the day of your appointment.
    • DO ADVISE us before the appointment if you are diabetic and follow the printed instructions for diabetics.
    • CHECK the list of medications which may interfere with the test and cease any of these if you have been instructed to do so by your referring doctor or medical specialist.
    • If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or caring for a small child on the appointment day, please notify us in advance to receive special instructions.
    • WEAR loose, comfortable clothes and suitable footwear for the stress test

    Please call Apex Radiology immediately if you have any further questions or need any clarification.

  • During your procedure

    What to expect during my procedure?

    When you attend your appointment at Apex Radiology you will be asked to answer a few safety questions, remove any jewellery, watches etc.

    A nurse will explain and prepare you for the stress test, which includes introducing an intravenous cannula (a small tube for taking blood samples and administering medicines) and electrocardiogram (ECG) monitoring during the treadmill exercise. A doctor will then speak to you before you start the exercise process. If exercise presents problems for you the doctor may suggest either trying gently exercising on the treadmill or an alternative stress method using a pharmaceutical.

    For the test to give useful results it is important to stress the heart sufficiently, so the exercise will increase in intensity for as long as tolerable. Near the end of the exercise, the doctor will inject the MIBI through the intravenous cannula.

    After 20 to 60 minutes resting, the technologist will position you in the gamma camera and begin imaging. The gamma camera is a large square radiation detector which rotates around the chest (SPECT).  There are no unusual sensations or discomfort, and the scan takes 15 minutes.

    The images are usually combined with a low dose CT scan done at the same time on the same scanner. This SPECT/CT improves the accuracy of the information, and adds a few minutes to the procedure time.

    After the first scan, the technologist will inject more MIBI, and ask you to wait, resting from 30 to 60 minutes before repeating the scan to show the heart perfusion at rest.

    Please allow up to four hours for the complete procedure

    Risks and side effects

    Nuclear medicine examinations are considered very safe with almost no reported adverse reactions attributable to the radiopharmaceuticals used in these examinations.

    Nuclear Medicine studies require very small doses of gamma radiation and are only performed where the benefits of the examination are deemed to outweigh any potential risks. At Apex Radiology you can be assured that using the latest technology and with staff trained in radiation reduction techniques, radiation doses are kept as low as reasonably possible.

    If you are worried or concerned about having a Stress Test you should discuss this with your referring doctor or medical specialist before coming for your examination.

    If you are a diabetic on insulin treatment you should advise the nurse on arrival.

    If you think you may be pregnant, please inform our Nuclear Medicine team before your examination commences.

    Who will perform and report my examination

    AtApex Radiology your stress test procedure will be carried out by a Nuclear Medicine Technologist who has a degree in Medical Radiation Science and is accredited by the ANZSNM.  

    Your images will be reviewed along with your relevant medical history, and any other imaging, and be reported by our Nuclear Medicine credentialed radiologist or Nuclear Medicine physician (a medical doctor specialising in the interpretation of Nuclear Medicine studies).

  • After your procedure

    What to expect after my procedure?

    Radiation from the injected isotope diminishes to a very low level by the end of the procedure, and you are free to resume normal activities. If you are caring for a small child, or breastfeeding, we may ask to take some minor precautions.

    How do I receive my results?

    If your results are needed urgently, or you have an appointment straight after your scan with your referring doctor or health care provider, Apex Radiology will arrange to have your results available immediately. Otherwise your referring doctor or health care provider will receive your report within 72 hours of your examination.

    Please ensure that you make a follow up appointment with your referring doctor or health care provider to discuss your results.

Make an appointment online or call our dedicated bookings line