What is a MUGA Nuclear Scan?
- Used to assess the heart muscle’s strength of contraction
- MUGA stands for multiple gated acquisition scan.
- Nuclear refers to the radioactive tracer that is injected into the bloodstream to allow a specialized camera to take images of the tracer in the red blood cells of the heart which will show the heart wall motion
- The nuclear tracer is radioactive but you will receive the same or less radiation than a typical x-ray.
What information is learned from this testing?
The MUGA scan will allow the doctor to determine:
- If your heart has sustained damage and to what degree
- An accurate and reproducible method for monitoring and measuring the ejection fraction of the heart
- Repeated MUGA scans are useful in following cardiac function during chemotherapy. Some chemotherapeutic agents can be quite toxic to the heart muscle. Measuring the LVEF during a chemotherapy session can help determine if it is safe to start or continue therapy.
What will happen during the test?
The Muga scan is comprised of:
- Blood is drawn from the arm to attach a radioactive tracer to the red blood cells. The tagged red blood cells are then injected back into the bloodstream.
- Laying under a special camera which is able to detect radiation given off by the tagged red blood cells.
- The patient will be connected to an EKG to monitor the heart rhythm
- The tagged red blood cells fill the heart chambers and an image is produced by the camera as an outline of those chambers
- The final results will give an ejection fraction from the left ventricle, which is reported as a percentage.
How do I prepare for the test?
- Plan to be at CVI for 1 hour. If you bring someone with you, they will not be permitted into the testing area.
- Please tell the staff if you may be pregnant or are nursing.
- Wear a button-down short sleeve shirt (no metal buttons or zippers). Do not wear necklaces. Please bring a jacket or sweater, as the department may be cold.
- Take your usual medications, unless told otherwise. Drink plenty of water (water only).