MUGA Scan

A MUGA scan is a non-invasive exam that looks at the function of the pumping chambers of the heart.

What To Expect

You should plan to be at our imaging center for about 90 minutes. The nuclear medicine technologist will start an intravenous line and take a small amount of blood from it. The blood will be mixed with a radioactive tagging material using a strict aseptic technique. About 20 minutes later, after the mixing procedure is complete, the blood-tracer material mixture will be injected back through the existing intravenous line.

Several pictures of your heart will be taken while you are connected to an EKG machine synchronized to a camera system. By viewing images of your heart when it is contracted and relaxed, the physician can determine how well your heart muscle is working.

When the exam is completed, the Radiologist will review your images, prepare a written report, and discuss the results with your doctor. Your doctor will then explain the test results to you and discuss what further procedures, if any, may be needed.

A few things you need to know:

  • It is very important to remain still while you are being imaged, as movement may blur or distort your images.
  • There is no need to worry about the amount of radiation you will receive during the test. It is no more than what you would receive from similar x-ray procedures.
  • Be sure to tell your doctor if you are pregnant, think that you may be pregnant, or are a nursing mother.
  • Although adverse side effects are rare, you should tell the technologist if you feel lightheaded, nauseated, or if you have other symptoms during the exam.
  • The radioactive tracer will remain in your body for a short time and is cleared out through natural bodily functions. Drinking plenty of fluids before the exam and after the tracer injection helps eliminate the material more quickly.

After the test, you should be able to resume your normal daily activities immediately.

Patient Preparation

No special preparation is required for this exam. You may eat, drink, and take medications as you normally do before coming in.