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Nuclear ventriculography

Cardiac blood pooling imaging; Heart scan - nuclear; Radionuclide ventriculography (RNV); Multiple gate acquisition scan (MUGA); Nuclear cardiology; Cardiomyopathy - nuclear ventriculography

 

Nuclear ventriculography is a test that uses radioactive materials called tracers to show the heart chambers. The procedure is noninvasive. The instruments DO NOT directly touch the heart.

How the Test is Performed

 

The test is done while you are resting.

The health care provider will inject a radioactive material called technetium into your vein. This substance attaches to red blood cells and passes through the heart.

The red blood cells inside the heart that carry the material form an image that a special camera can pick up. These scanners trace the substance as it moves through the heart area. The camera is timed with an electrocardiogram. A computer then processes the images to make it appear as if the heart is moving.

 

How to Prepare for the Test

 

You may be told not to eat or drink for several hours before the test.

 

How the Test will Feel

 

You may feel a brief sting or pinch when the IV is inserted into your vein. Most often, a vein in the arm is used. You may have trouble staying still during the test.

 

Why the Test is Performed

 

The test will show how well the blood is pumping through different parts of the heart.

 

Normal Results

 

Normal results show that the heart squeezing function is normal. The test can check the overall squeezing strength of the heart (ejection fraction). A normal value is above 50% to 55%.

The test also can check the motion of different parts of the heart. If one part of the heart is moving poorly while the others move well, it may mean that there has been damage to that part of the heart.

 

What Abnormal Results Mean

 

Abnormal results may be due to:

  • Blockages in the coronary arteries (coronary artery disease)
  • Heart valve disease
  • Other cardiac disorders that weaken the heart (reduced pumping function)
  • Past heart attack (myocardial infarction)

The test may also be performed for:

  • Dilated cardiomyopathy
  • Heart failure
  • Idiopathic cardiomyopathy
  • Peripartum cardiomyopathy
  • Ischemic cardiomyopathy
  • Testing whether a medicine has affected heart function

 

Risks

 

Nuclear imaging tests carry a very low risk. Exposure to the radioisotope delivers a small amount of radiation. This amount is safe for people who DO NOT have nuclear imaging tests often.

 

 

References

Kramer CM, Beller GA, Hagspiel KD. Noninvasive cardiac imaging. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 56.

Udelson JE, Dilsizian V, Bonow RO. Nuclear cardiology. In: Bonow RO, Mann DL, Zipes DP, Libby P, Braunwald E, eds. Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2015:chap 16.

 
  • Heart, front view

    Heart, front view - illustration

    The external structures of the heart include the ventricles, atria, arteries and veins. Arteries carry blood away from the heart while veins carry blood into the heart. The vessels colored blue indicate the transport of blood with relatively low content of oxygen and high content of carbon dioxide. The vessels colored red indicate the transport of blood with relatively high content of oxygen and low content of carbon dioxide.

    Heart, front view

    illustration

  • MUGA test

    MUGA test - illustration

    During the MUGA test, a radioactive isotope is injected into the vein. Radioactive isotopes attach to red blood cells and pass through the heart in the circulation. The isotopes can be traced through the heart using special cameras or scanners. The test is often given at rest, then repeated with exercise, or after administering certain medications. The test is performed to detect certain heart conditions.

    MUGA test

    illustration

    • Heart, front view

      Heart, front view - illustration

      The external structures of the heart include the ventricles, atria, arteries and veins. Arteries carry blood away from the heart while veins carry blood into the heart. The vessels colored blue indicate the transport of blood with relatively low content of oxygen and high content of carbon dioxide. The vessels colored red indicate the transport of blood with relatively high content of oxygen and low content of carbon dioxide.

      Heart, front view

      illustration

    • MUGA test

      MUGA test - illustration

      During the MUGA test, a radioactive isotope is injected into the vein. Radioactive isotopes attach to red blood cells and pass through the heart in the circulation. The isotopes can be traced through the heart using special cameras or scanners. The test is often given at rest, then repeated with exercise, or after administering certain medications. The test is performed to detect certain heart conditions.

      MUGA test

      illustration

    A Closer Look

     

      Tests for Nuclear ventriculography

       

       

      Review Date: 5/5/2016

      Reviewed By: Michael A. Chen, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, Harborview Medical Center, University of Washington Medical School, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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