A Myocardial Perfusion Scan (MPS) is a specialist heart scan actually looking at blood flow in the heart muscle. Two separate scans are performed on separate days, once after a form of stress and once at rest. Ideally the stress is an exercise test but for patients with certain ECG patterns and those who cannot walk easily an intravenous drug called Regadenoson is used. I was involved in setting up the MPS service at NGH and am now sole reporting Cardiologist.
MPS is a reliable test to see if chest pain is really angina. It is equally useful in patients with known coronary disease as those in which we suspect it. A normal result strongly suggests a good prognosis even if a patient does have heart disease. In some patients with known coronary disease it can tell us whether they need treatment and if so whether that should be medication alone, stents or surgery.
We also use it for people who need to have major non-cardiac surgery but have adverse risk factors for heart disease to see how safe that surgery will be for them. Even if you are 85 years old with lots of cardiac risk factors, if you have a normal MPS your chances of a heart attack during your hip replacement is negligible.