What Is a Persantine MIBI Scan?

A Persantine MIBI scan is a procedure that is performed to evaluate individuals with suspected cardiovascular disease. The scan specifically looks for narrowing of the blood vessels that supply the heart muscle (called coronary vessels).


Narrowing of the coronary vessels is most evident during exercise. Thus, a clinician would generally stress the heart with exercise in order to evaluate the patency of the coronary vessels. However, patients who cannot perform an exercise stress test are given Persantine, a drug that stresses the heart in the same manner as exercise.


MIBI is a radioactive agent that is injected into the bloodstream. The substance distributes in the heart tissue in a manner proportional to blood flow within the tissue. Special imaging is performed that detects MIBI as it distributes throughout the heart tissue. The images allow the clinician to observe any areas of abnormal blood flow in the heart, which may indicate coronary artery disease.


The test involves injection of MIBI into your bloodstream via an intravenous line. Then, pictures will be taken of your heart at rest. You will then be administered Persantine to stress your heart. More pictures will be taken to determine changes in your heart's blood flow while stressed. Throughout the procedure, your heart's electrical activity will be monitored and recorded via EKG and your blood pressure will be monitored as well.


Persantine should not be used in individuals with a bronchial spasm disease as it can exacerbate this condition. Patients should not consume drugs or foods containing caffeine or theophylline before the procedure, as this can render falsely negative results.


A Persantine MIBI scan may be performed in individuals with chest pain on exertion, those with known coronary artery disease (to determine extent of the disease), to determine an individual's risk for heart disease or to evaluate other symptoms that occur during exertion.