Nuclear cardiac testing is used to help determine whether or not you have coronary artery disease (CAD) and if you do, to what degree. For patients with known CAD, these tests can also help measure how well treatment is working.
Nuclear Cardiac Testing - Myocardial Perfusion Imaging
Stress myocardial perfusion imaging is an imaging technique that assesses the flow of blood to your heart muscle. This test will help your doctor know if your heart is receiving enough blood and if you may have coronary artery disease (CAD). If there are blockages, this test will help identify their location and severity.
What to expect: Our nuclear technologist will start a small IV line into your arm and inject a small amount of a radioisotope or tracer. The tracer is not a medicine or a dye, and you will feel no ill effects from it. The tracer is taken up by the heart muscle in proportion to the blood flow. Two sets of images will be acquired. The first set of pictures shows your heart at rest. You will lie on your back with your arms comfortably extended above your head. You will be asked to lie still, breathe normally, and relax to ensure the best possible images. This portion of the test takes 17 minutes. The second set of pictures is taken after your heart has been stressed. Depending on which test your doctor has ordered, your heart will be stressed either by treadmill exercise or by IV injection of medication (adenosine ordobutamine).
Please plan on a total of two and a half hours for your myocardial perfusion imaging test.
Nuclear Cardiac Testing -MUGA Scan
MUGA stands for "multi-gated acquisition." A MUGA scan helps doctors see your heart chambers and understand how well your heart muscle is functioning. The test is primarily used to measure the amount of blood pumped out of your heart during each heartbeat, and to view the motion of the wall of your heart.
What to expect: You will lie on your back for this exam. Our technologist will start a small IV in your arm and will inject a very small amount of pyrophosphate (PYP). PYP is not a medication; it is a substance that attaches to your red blood cells. Once the PYP has been injected, it is allowed to circulate through your bloodstream for 20 minutes. You will then receive a second injection, this time of a radioactive tracer. The tracer is not a dye or a medicine. It is an isotope that attaches itself to the PYP.A special imaging camera can then "see" the isotope, the PYP and, most important, your red blood cells as they pool in your heart's left ventricle. Two sets of images will be taken-each image takes 12 minutes to complete.
Please plan on a total of one hour for your MUGA Scan.
About Radiation: Doses of radioactive elements used in nuclear imaging are very small and fall well within the safety limits determined by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and equivalent to an X-ray.