The Heart and Vascular Clinic Nashville, TN

What Is A MUGA (Multi-Gated Acquisition) Scan?

A MUGA Scan is a test that is designed to evaluate the heart’s ability to pump blood throughout the body. The test works by using a gamma camera to capture images of the blood (mixed with the tracer) flowing through the heart, and can help doctor’s identify heart inefficiency and ventricle flaws, defects and damage.

When Might I Need A MUGA Scan?

Your doctor may recommend a MUGA Scan if:

  • You Have Had, Are Having Or Will Be Having Chemotherapy Or Other Cancer Treatments
  • He Suspects That Your Heart Is Not Pumping Blood Properly
  • He Suspects You Have Ventricle Damage, Flaws Or Defects
  • You Have Had a Heart Attack
  • He Suspects You Have a Blockage
  • He Suspect You Have a Heart Problem

Note: Your doctor may recommend a MUGA Scan for other reasons, as well.

What Should I Expect?

The length of time that a MUGA Scan takes depends almost entirely on how many images are needed. Each image takes about 5 minutes to capture, but your doctor may need a couple of hours’ worth of images.

Before a resting MUGA Scan, you will be asked to remove your clothes and jewelry from the waist up and lie down. Electrodes will then be placed on your chest, and a radioactive substance (or tracer) will be injected into a vein (where it will attach to your red blood cells). As this substance moves through your blood stream, the technologist will use a gamma ray camera (located above your chest) to capture images of the blood flow from several different views.

For an exercise MUGA Scan, you will have electrodes placed on your body, and you will exercise (typically on a bike or treadmill) until you reach exhaustion. At this point, you will lie down and the camera will begin taking pictures, just as with a resting MUGA Scan.

How Should I Prepare For The Test?

It is important that you talk with your doctor about how to prepare for a MUGA Scan. It may be requested that you avoid food, drink, cigarettes and caffeinated products for the 24 hours leading up to your test.

If you are having an exercise MUGA Scan, wear clothes and shoes that you will be comfortable exercising in.

Be sure to inform your doctor:

  • Of Any And All Medications You Are Taking
  • Of Any Recent Nuclear Scanning Tests You Have Had
  • If You Are Or May Be Pregnant
  • Of Any Medical Conditions You May Have

If you have any questions regarding the MUGA Scan, please be sure to ask your doctor during your next v

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