A nuclear stress test helps determine which parts of the heart are healthy and which are not. A small amount of a harmless radioactive tracer is injected into your bloodstream in addition to performing the cardiac stress test. You will be scanned by a special camera that monitors the radioactive tracer in your body and takes pictures of your heart while at rest and after exercise. If you are unable to exercise a pharmacologic or drug stress test will be performed. The medication will make your heart beat faster as in exercise, which shows how your heart reacts to stress without exercise.
MUGA (Multigated Acquisition Scan)
A multigated acquisition scan is a noninvasive diagnostic test used to evaluate the pumping function of the lower chambers of your heart (ventricles). A small amount of radioactive tracer is injected into your bloodstream and a special gamma camera detects the radiation released by the tracer to produce images of your beating heart while you are scanned.
What to expect
For a nuclear stress or other imaging test that uses radioactive dye, the nurse will inject a small amount of dye into your bloodstream. This is done through a needle placed in a vein in your arm or hand.
You’ll get the dye about a half-hour before you start exercising or take medicine to make your heart work hard. The amount of radiation in the dye is considered safe for you and those around you. However, if you’re pregnant, you shouldn’t have this test because of risks it might pose to your unborn child.
Pictures will be taken of your heart at least two times: when it’s at rest and when it’s working its hardest. You’ll lie down on a table, and a special camera or scanner that can detect the dye in your bloodstream will take pictures of your heart. Some pictures may not be taken until you lie quietly for a few hours after the stress test. Some patients may even be asked to return in a day or so for more pictures.