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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ESC Guidelines for Heart Failure

What patients need to know

This guide for patients from the European Society of Cardiology aims to provide an overview of the latest evidence-based recommendations for the diagnosis and treatment of heart failure.

In particular, it should help patients to understand the:

  • main types of heart failure
  • medicines used to treat heart failure
  • devices that may be appropriate
  • importance of rehabilitation
  • management by a multidisciplinary team
  • importance of self-care in managing your own condition

Learn more


A series of 9 simple, captivating animations explaining heart failure and its treatment.

These narrated animations explain how a healthy heart works, what happens to it in heart failure and how various treatments work to improve your health.


In this section you can watch, listen or read interviews with other people with heart failure and their caregivers.


and share your own views and experiences with other patients, families and caregivers. is a European Society of Cardiology website

The 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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