Myocardial Viability Scan (Thallium) Information Sheet

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What is a Myocardial Viability Scan?

A Myocardial Viability Scan will help your doctor to determine how much healthy heart muscle tissue you have generally in consideration of heart surgery.

What happens during the test?

When you arrive, we will ask you relevant questions, and put a cannula into a vein in your arm. The Nuclear Medicine Scientists will use this cannula for the injection of the radioactive isotope called Thallium (201Tl).

Only a small volume is injected and then flushed through with a saline solution. The isotope will then get carried to your heart muscle.

Imaging: You will have 3 sets of images taken of your heart following the injection of Thallium. You will be required to lie on the imaging table, keeping still while the gamma camera rotates around your chest collecting these images. This will take approximately half an hour.

Imaging will be performed at 20 mins, 3 hours and 24 hours after your Thallium injection.

You will be closely monitored throughout the duration of your scan, and the procedure will be supervised by one of the Nuclear Medicine Scientists. If you are diabetic, our registered nurse will also monitor your blood glucose during the day.

How long will the test take?

Each imaging procedure will take up to half an hour. You are free to leave our department between the 20 minute scan and the 3 hour scan. Following the 3 hour scan you can return home for the evening. There is no restriction once you return home. The following day you are required to return to Nuclear Medicine at the requested time for 24 hour imaging.

What preparation is required?

There is no specific preparation for this scan.


If you are / could be pregnant OR are breast-feeding please call us IMMEDIATELY

Please expect to be in the department for at least 4 hrs, possibly longer.

We recommend you park in the 6 hour spaces on level 4 of the multi-level carpark.

It is important to bring any previous test results and your Medicare card with you on the day.

Please feel free to call us on 6244 2439 if you have any questions or to reschedule.



Please contact your referring doctor to discuss if any of your medications should be ceased prior to your test. Your doctor may require you to stop taking some of your medications. Only your referring doctor can provide you with this advice.

If your doctor has not indicated a change in your medication for this test you should take it as normal with a sip of water.


Please complete the questionnaire before you arrive for your test, and bring it with you to your appointment.


We will need to be able to access your elbow, and place ECG dots on your chest. Please wear comfortable clothing.

Family / Friends

Due to the length of this procedure and the small size of the Nuclear Medicine waiting area we ask that only one family member/friend stay with you during your visit.


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