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Is the stress thallium test more reliable than angiography?

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Posted on Fri, 20 Mar 2015
Question: Hi,
My Father(age 47) just had angiography test which shows blockage in 3 arteries - 90%(main artery), 70%, 60%. Now he has also gone through stress Thallium test which shows the report Normal.

I am confused whom to trust. Which test is more reliable and trustworthy - Angiography or stress Thallium?
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Answered by Dr. BR Hudda (4 hours later)
Brief Answer:
Angiography is more reliable than stress thallium test

Detailed Answer:
Hello greetings,

I had gone through your question and understand your concerns.

To make you understand better I will try to highlight the little difference between both the procedures

Angiography is used to visualize the anatomy of the blood vessels like inside, or lumen (inner passageways) of blood vessels and heart to see the blood flow into the coronaries.

While Stress Thallium tests provide a view to see if the Thallium (a radionuclide) which has been injected in blood, is taken up by heart muscle cells (which is normal) or if there is a portion of the heart that does not take it up, this suggests either a prior heart attack (if at rest); or if during the stress portion of the test, this suggests compromise in the blood flow, which means a narrowing in one or more arteries

Stress tests does not detect clearly atherosclerosis, a condition which mainly produces wall thickening and plaque formation inside arteries leading to a blockage.

Your father has blockage but blood supply and pumping action of the heart is maintained
his risk of heart attack can not be ruled out.
please consult a cardiologist for further course of action

Hope this answers your question. If you have additional questions or follow up questions then please do not hesitate in writing to us. I will be happy to answer your questions.

Wishing you good health
regards
Dr BR Hudda
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Prasad
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Dr. BR Hudda

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :2009

Answered : 2994 Questions

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Is the stress thallium test more reliable than angiography?

Brief Answer: Angiography is more reliable than stress thallium test Detailed Answer: Hello greetings, I had gone through your question and understand your concerns. To make you understand better I will try to highlight the little difference between both the procedures Angiography is used to visualize the anatomy of the blood vessels like inside, or lumen (inner passageways) of blood vessels and heart to see the blood flow into the coronaries. While Stress Thallium tests provide a view to see if the Thallium (a radionuclide) which has been injected in blood, is taken up by heart muscle cells (which is normal) or if there is a portion of the heart that does not take it up, this suggests either a prior heart attack (if at rest); or if during the stress portion of the test, this suggests compromise in the blood flow, which means a narrowing in one or more arteries Stress tests does not detect clearly atherosclerosis, a condition which mainly produces wall thickening and plaque formation inside arteries leading to a blockage. Your father has blockage but blood supply and pumping action of the heart is maintained his risk of heart attack can not be ruled out. please consult a cardiologist for further course of action Hope this answers your question. If you have additional questions or follow up questions then please do not hesitate in writing to us. I will be happy to answer your questions. Wishing you good health regards Dr BR Hudda