Well... Since you had a cardiac nuclear scan, I assume your doctors were looking for coronary artery disease. You seem to be a smoker, which makes artery disease worse. So smoking is not a good thing for you, and you should try to stop. Having said that, you are probably not in any more immediate risk for heart problem for smoking after the nuclear exam. Long term risks are greater with smoking.
It is never safe to. Although it is no more risky to smoke after a scan, it is never safe to smoke.
No. It is never "safe" to smoke! But there is no particularly increased risk due to the thallium perfusion scan. So go ahead and smoke but take serious measures to stop, soon.
Not usually. Caffeine in the usual dietary dose won't affect an exercise stress test with thallium imaging, but if you ingest caffeine recently you cannot have a stress test with pharmacologic stress using Persantine (dipyridamole), Adenosine or Lexiscan because the caffeine interferes with the metabolism of those agents.
Sometimes not at all. Caffeine can interfere with the pharmacologic stress test used in conjunction with thallium myocardial perfusion scanning. It blocks the effect of the stress agent (e.g. Dipyridamole) which makes the thallium stress-rest perfusion scan less accurate. If you perform exercise stress and achieve your target heart rate, caffeine shouldn't affect the scan much if at all.
False-negative. Caffeine can interfere with vasodilator pharmacologic stress testing, so your thallium myocardial perfusion scan might be normal even though you have cardiac perfusion problems. Best to hold caffeine for 48 hours prior to the test. You don't always know ahead of time whether an exercise stress test will work, so it is recommended that everyone hold caffeine for a couple of days prior to the study.
See blood flow. Myocardial perfusion studies show the pattern of blood flow (perfusion) to the tissue of the heart muscle. The radiotracer goes where the blood goes and this shows how well the tissue is nourished. It can be an indicator of blocked arteries when the perfusion pattern is abnormal.
Probably. At some hospitals, physicians assistants are who is actually present during the study. As these tests usually involve some type of stressing of the heart, it is important that whoever is supervising the test has the knowledge to make the decision that the patient is stable and that it is safe. In most cases, a cardiologist has had some input in that decision even if not there for the test.
Yes. Most cardiologists are not trained to perform myocardial perfusion scans. The primary training for this procedure is done in nuclear medicine residencies. So, I would say that very frequently you are safer to have the scan done in a nuclear medicine clinic by a nuclear medicine specialist. Some cardiologists also specialize in this but not all.
Cardiac blood supply. A cardiac perfusion scan measures the amount of blood supplied to your heart muscle. Radiotracers such as thallium or technetium sestamibi are injected intravenously and travel through blood to heart muscle. Two sets of images are made during rest and exercise and compared. Indications for this study include chest pain, previous heart attack, heart surgery and coronary artery disease.
Cardiac imaging... The myocardial perfusion scan is performed mostly to detect ischemia. It can also detect infarction (heart attack) as well as ejection fraction, wall motion abnormalities, and ventricular volumes.