Nuclear Medicine MUGA Scan

What is a MUGA Scan?

A nuclear medicine MUGA scan (Multiple Uptake Gated Acquisition Scan) is a very accurate means of measuring the function of your heart’s left ventricle.

How is the examination performed?

A registered Nuclear Medicine Technologist will perform your examination and can answer any questions you may have.  This exam is performed by injecting a small, safe amount of radioactive tracer that has been mixed with your own blood into your arm or hand.  A set of images is obtained just after the injection.

Who is a candidate for a MUGA Scan?

A MUGA scan can sometimes be ordered for the following patients:

  • Patients with lesions in their heart valves.
  • Patients who have recently had a heart attack, to assess the damage to the heart tissue.
  • Patients with congestive heart failure.
  • Patients who are undergoing chemotherapy or immunotherapy.

Will I need to prepare for the exam?

No, but please do not wear any clothing that has metal snaps or clasps near the chest.

What will I experience?

Your Nuclear Medicine Technologist will begin by placing a tourniquet on your arm to look for an IV site.  Once a vein is located, the Technologist will clean your skin with alcohol and start an IV.  Then the technologist will draw some of your blood.  Your blood will be mixed in the hot lab with a small amount of radioactive material.  This process takes about 30 minutes.  Once the blood and radioactive tracer are ready, the Technologist will have you lie down on the imaging table.  He/She will place 3 patches on your chest that will enable the images to be acquired along with your heartbeat.  You will then get an injection of your blood and radioactive tracer back into the same IV site.  Following the injection, images are taken for about 5-10 minutes and you will be done.

What happens next?

The Technologist will remove your IV,  Your images will be processed and analyzed by the Technologist using the nuclear medicine computer and then sent to the Radiologist’s computer for interpretation.

Your images will be interpreted by a State of New Mexico licensed and board certified Physician, Radiologist or Cardiologist, that specializes in radiology interpretation.  A report will be dictated, transcribed, and faxed to the Physician that ordered your test.  Your Physician will receive the report within 24 hours and is responsible for notifying  you of the results.