The MUGA scan (Multiple Gated Acquisition scan) is an extremely accurate, noninvasive test for looking at your heart. The MUGA scan produces a moving image of your beating heart, which can detect small changes in heart function early on. This allows your doctor to address them before they become a serious problem. MUGA scans can also allow your doctor to clearly see specific areas of your heart in order to determine how well your treatment plan is working.
How does a MUGA scan work? Is it safe?
During a MUGA scan, very small amounts of a radioactive isotope (also called a “tracer”) are injected into your bloodstream. This isotope emits weak gamma rays that are picked up by a special gamma camera. As the tracer travels through the heart, the gamma camera takes multiple pictures of the heart, allowing your doctor to gain very accurate images. With some fancy computer manipulation, the final product is a movie of your heart beating.
The tracer is flushed harmlessly from your body in about 48 hours. There are some people (e.g., pregnant or nursing women), however, who should not have a radionuclide test. Be sure to talk to your doctor about any conditions that you have before having a MUGA scan.
Why would I have a MUGA scan versus another heart test?
Muga is the goal standard for evaluating LV function and Ejection Fraction. This is not true for all nuclear testing.
A MUGA scan is typically recommended for the following:
• Known or suspected coronary artery disease
• Lesions in your heart valves
• Congestive heart failure
• People who have had coronary angioplasty, coronary artery bypass graft surgery, or similar procedures
• Certain people after open-heart surgery