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Nuclear medicine techniques

Radionuclide ventriculography (sometimes known as MUGA) is a test that uses very small amounts of radioactive materials, called tracers, to make your heart and blood vessels visible. This test evaluates heart function. Perfusion scans will show the blood flow through the heart muscle and may detect areas of poor blood flow ischaemia . For both tests, tracers are injected into your vein and are tracked through the heart using special cameras or scanners.

You will usually be tested when you are resting and possibly again with exercise, or after taking certain medicines. You may be asked not to have any food or drink containing caffeine or alcohol for several hours before the tests. You should take your daily medicine, unless otherwise instructed.

Nuclear medicine techniques only carry a very low risk of complications, as the amount of radiation is so small.

© Siemens
Patient having the MUGA scan
© Texas Heart Institute
Example of a MUGA scan

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The heartfailurematters.org website was developed under the direction of the Heart Failure Association of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC). The ESC is a world leader in the discovery and dissemination of best practices in cardiovascular medicine. Our members and decision-makers are healthcare professionals who volunteer their time and expertise to represent professionals in the field of cardiology in Europe and beyond.

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