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A MIBG cardiac scan will provide information about the function of the nerves in your heart (myocardial sympathetic innervation). Parkinson’s disease patients may suffer from some nerve loss in the heart muscle.
If there is a possibility that you are pregnant or if you are currently breastfeeding please inform the department before your appointment as we will likely have to re-schedule.
Whenever possible, you should attend your appointment alone, unless you need a carer to support any additional needs.
The appointment will take five hours, but you can leave the department for 2½ hours after the first set of imaging. Please see page 3 ‘What will happen at my appointment’.
It is very important that you do not eat or drink anything containing caffeine, including decaffeinated drinks, 24 hours before your appointment. We can’t perform the test if you have.
It is important you complete and return the enclosed form. Please list all medication that you are taking including over the counter drugs. Some drugs need to be stopped before your appointment.
Firstly, we will give you two tablets to swallow called Potassium Iodide. These tablets will stop the radioactive tracer from entering the thyroid.
One hour after you take these tablets, a cannula will be placed, usually into a vein in your arm or the back of your hand, where the radioactive MIBG is injected. It will emit gamma rays which will be detected by a piece of equipment called a gamma camera. Your blood pressure will be monitored before and after the injection.
After the injection we will take some initial images of your heart. These will take approximately 15 minutes and you will be required to lie still on your back on the imaging bed with a gamma camera positioned above and below your chest. You will then get a break of 2½ hours. You may leave the department during this time and can eat and drink (except food/drinks with caffeine).
When you return for your scan you will be required to lie still on your back on the imaging bed for 45 minutes. The imaging is repeated in the same way as the earlier one plus a SPECT (3-dimensional) image of your heart. It is important that you remain as still as possible, while relaxed and breathing normally.
All images will be checked before you leave the department. Occasionally images may be repeated or extra images acquired if necessary.
You will be asked to remove any metallic objects, such as a phone, belts, keys, underwire bra, coins or zips. You may also be asked to change into a gown.
After the appointment you can resume all usual activities. Eat as normal and keep well hydrated.
If you have young children or pregnant friends/family please limit close contact with them until the following day. You can be in the same room but avoid sitting close to each other for long periods. This is to avoid them receiving any unnecessary radiation exposure.
The report will be sent to your referring doctor. They will contact you to discuss the results. If you have any enquiries regarding your results please contact the department where the referral was originally made.
The radioactive tracer administered will expose you to a small amount of ionising radiation.
The risks from this radiation are very low and the benefits of having the results from the MIBG cardiac scan greatly outweigh the risk.
This information is intended for patients receiving care in Brighton & Hove or Haywards Heath.
The information in this leaflet is for guidance purposes only and is in no way intended to replace professional clinical advice by a qualified practitioner.
Publication Date: June 2022
Review Date: March 2025