The MUGA scan procedure, short for Multiple gated acquisition scan, is a non invasive medical procedure that helps assess the function of the heart. This scan is used extensively in the diagnoses of a number of heart related medical conditions. The test is known by a number of other names including nuclear heart scan, nuclear vntriculography and radionuclide ventriculography. The entire procedure makes use of a radioactive substance known as technetium 99 that is attached to red blood cells that are then injected into the patient blood stream.
After the technetium is added to the blood cells and injected into the patient, he or she is placed under a special camera that is able to detect the radiation being emitted by the substance. The MUGA scan procedure primarily concentrates on the working of the heart. When the red blood cells, including those that were tagged by the radioactive substance, enter the cardiac chambers, the scan draws a detailed view of the heart and its chambers, which are then composited to a final film of the heart beating. A MUGA scan is very helpful in a number of medical conditions such as being able to identify if the patient has suffered from a heart attack or any condition that affects the heart muscle.
Moreover, the MUGA scan is also able to localize a portion of the heart muscle that is believed to have sustained damage, allowing the medical practitioner to gain an in depth understanding of the problems with that region specifically. While there are a number of other medical tests, such as an echocardiogram, that help measure the left ventricular ejection fraction (which is the most commonly used measurement of cardiac function), the accuracy of the MUGA test is substantially more dependable. In addition to this, the fact that it is non invasive in nature makes it a more preferred option when scanning for subtle changes in a patients cardiac function over a long period of time. The entire scan could take about two to three hours to complete. The patient may experience minimal pain when the tracer is injected into the bloodstream through an IV but no other pain should be experienced. The patient needs to remain as still as possible during the test in order to prevent blurring of the images.
Preparation for a MUGA scan heart procedure will require the patient to abstain from food or drink up to six hours before the test. The patient will also have to avoid caffeine and tobacco for the same timeframe. Inform your doctor if you are pregnant as the test could inadvertently affect the unborn child.