What is a Perfusion Defect and How Does it Put Your Heart at Risk?

It is common knowledge that the heart is the most important organ in the body. It is the organ that is in charge of pumping blood via the arteries of your body, which are responsible for bringing blood to the heart. When the arteries in your body become constricted or too small, they make it difficult for your heart to obtain the adequate amount of blood and oxygen it needs to pump effectively, which increases the risk of heart failure. If this problem continues, your doctor will probably recommend that you do a perfusion test.

In this article, we will be discussing what is a perfusion defect and how it puts your heart at risk. You will also get to know about the adverse effects that might result from a perfusion defect.

What is a Perfusion Defect? Why Your Heart is at Risk?

A perfusion defect is a medical term that refers to observations made on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the cardiovascular system. It is usually identified by performing a perfusion test.

A perfusion test is an imaging test that provides information to your doctor about the function of your heart via the use of images. These images are somewhat comparable to the ultrasound pictures that are created using sound waves. The results of a perfusion test may inform your doctor how well your heart is functioning and whether or not it is receiving an adequate amount of blood.

A nuclear stress test or a myocardial perfusion imaging are two different names for this procedure. It is possible that one of the following factors has led someone to suggest that you take this examination:

  • It’s likely that the discomfort in your chest is being caused by angina, which is the medical term for chest pain caused by constricted or clogged arteries.
  • It’s possible that you went into cardiac arrest, and your doctor needs to know how things are doing with your heart right now.
  • If you’ve had open-heart surgery, a treatment involving stents or bypasses, or an angiography, your cardiologist may want to check in on how things are doing after the procedure.

What is the Procedure of a Myocardial Perfusion? How is it Performed?

What is the Procedure of a Myocardial Perfusion
Source: ottawaheart.ca
  • Small Patches of Electrodes: You will have small patches of electrodes pasted to your legs, arms, and chest during this procedure. These electrodes are attached to lengthy wires that are then linked to a massive piece of equipment in order to monitor a patient’s heart rate. If you have ever been treated for cardiac problems, there is a good chance that you have seen these electrodes being used to get data from an electrocardiogram (ECG).
  • Blood Pressure Monitoring: Your doctor may also need you to wear blood pressure monitors on your wrists in order to keep track of your condition. During a stress perfusion test, you may also be required to exercise by pedaling a stationary bike or running on a treadmill.

In the event that you are unable to do strenuous activity for the purpose of the test owing to factors such as age or illness, you will be given medication that either expands or dilates the coronary arteries. When the drug begins to take effect, your doctor will provide you with a tracer so that he or she can see the flow of blood through the arteries.

  • Tracer: At the conclusion of the test, your physician will use radioactive material and administer a substance into your circulation that is referred to as a tracer. It is simple for it to combine with your blood, which carries it about your cardiovascular system via the arteries.
  • Gamma Camera: Following the completion of this procedure, your physician will direct you to recline on a table. He is going to make use of a Gamma Camera. The physicians will be able to determine which arteries in your body are supplying blood to your heart and which ones are not with the assistance of the radioactive substance that was administered to your bloodstream a while ago.
  • Second Scan: You will be allowed to relax for a few hours once the tracer and camera monitoring has been completed. After your body has returned to its normal state, you will be taken to undergo a second scan with the Gamma camera. This will allow the doctors to compare your heart rate, blood pressure, arteries, and the function of your heart before and after you exercised.

It usually takes around 4 hours to do the perfusion scanning procedure in its entirety.

Things to Do Prior to a Heart Perfusion Scan

You could be asked to do a few things before your perfusion test, and the instructions will vary according to the patient’s age and the state of their heart.

Starve Before the Test: There is a possibility that you may need to fast before the perfusion test. Before the day of your perfusion test, your doctor may urge you to refrain from eating certain meals, particularly those that include caffeine. In addition, there is a possibility that you will not be allowed to have any solid meal during the preceding six hours before your heart perfusion scan.

You will only be permitted to drink water during this time.

Discontinue Cardiac-related Drugs: If you are taking any drugs for cardiac problems, you may need to discontinue some of those medications.

Consult With the Doctor If You are Breastfeeding: If you are breastfeeding your child or pregnant at the time of the test, it is imperative that you take advice from your physician. It is possible for radiation from the gamma camera, the radiological material, or the tracer to pass into a developing baby or into a newborn who is being breastfed via the mother’s milk.

Gather the Necessary Information: Before the test begins, you will need to gather all of the necessary information on the testing technique as well as the duration of the perfusion scan. If you are physically healthy, you will be requested to exercise; thus, you should wear shoes and clothing that are comfortable. If you have already been admitted to the hospital, you may be required to wear a hospital gown. This is the case even if you are already wearing one. It is also strongly recommended that you do not wear any jewelry or metal objects during the test, since this might have an impact on the outcomes.

Risk Factors Associated with the Perfusion Scan

There are a number of potential risks that are associated with a cardiac perfusion test; these risks might vary based on the health of the patient who is undergoing the test. It’s also conceivable that you’ll experience some discomfort, which might involve the following:

Chest Pain and Irregular Heartbeat: It is possible that you may have chest pain in conjunction with the irregular heartbeat after you begin exercising or are prescribed medication. In the event that this occurs, you should not try to push through the pain while exercising and instead make an emergency appointment with your primary care physician.

Allergic Reaction Through Tracer: The tracer will not cause you to get radiation or have any serious allergic responses. In most cases, individuals will not put themselves at risk of experiencing any response once the tracer has been administered. However, sensitive individuals run the risk of developing responses to either the tracer itself or any other drug that may be administered during the treatment.

It is possible that the region of your body where the tracer was injected may become painful, just like any other location of your body that receives a shot.

Straining of the Heart: In addition, after receiving the injection, your heart may become strained, and you may have symptoms such as dizziness, shaking, nausea, or shortness of breath when you are exercising. Check to see that your physician is aware of your issue.

There could be a few things that your doctor wants to tell you about your health and the medications that you are currently taking, as well as a few things that you want to ask him or her before the test. It is important that you discuss any sensitivities or allergies you have with your primary care physician. It is recommended that you bring a member of your family or a caregiver with you to the appointment before the test. This will offer them the opportunity to assist you in being reminded of any issues that you may have had in the past.

What Happens After the Heart Perfusion Scan?

After the test has been completed, get up from the table carefully and slowly so that you do not get dizzy and fall to the floor. This occurs as a result of the patient spending an extended period of time lying flat on the operation table. Before you stand up, take a few minutes to sit down, and then gradually put more weight on your feet.

After the procedure, you will be given instructions to consume a lot of fluids, including water, so that you may empty your bladder after the test has been completed for a full 48 hours. It is imperative that you do this in order to thoroughly remove the radioactive particles from your body.

The location of the IV injection that you got would be observed for any symptoms of swelling or redness. In the unlikely event that you have difficulties after the test has been completed, you should make an appointment with your primary care physician in order to facilitate a speedy recovery.

Your healthcare practitioner may also give you medicine and instructions to follow depending on the results of the test and how you feel after it. These instructions and medications may be for a few days or even a week. If your myocardial procedure reveals that you are at risk of serious cardiac disease or there is a chance of getting into one, your doctor will advise you for the next appointment and lead you for the next process.

The Bottom Line

Given that we have covered all there is to know about what is a perfusion defect, heart failure, and the reasons for it that are related to perfusion, a perfusion defect in the apical anterior occurs when a heart does not obtain enough oxygen because of an apex being created in the region of the anterior wall. When this occurs, the heart is unable to continue ensuring that its tissues stay healthy, which often results in major health concerns. If the diseased cardiac tissues are not treated in a timely manner, they lead to a blockage of oxygen. As a consequence, abrupt cardiac failure always ends in fatalities.

It is crucial to get acquainted with the procedure in order to achieve outcomes that are effective and optimal, without causing any issues that will persist over time.

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