What is MUGA?

what is muga

A what is muga scan is an imaging test that measures how well your heart is pumping blood with each beat. It also shows whether the heart’s walls are moving normally, and can detect damage to the heart from certain drugs. The test may be used to help diagnose problems with your heart such as chest pain, shortness of breath and fatigue. It’s also used to track the effectiveness of chemotherapy drugs on your heart if you’re being treated for cancer.

Preparing for a MUGA scan

If your doctor is ordering a MUGA test, it’s important to follow their instructions to prepare for the scan. You should not eat anything except water for four hours before the test, and you should wear comfortable clothes. It’s also important to tell your doctor if you’re pregnant, because the chemical tracer used in the scan can harm the unborn baby.

During the test, a nuclear medicine technician will attach small discs (electrodes) to your chest, arms and legs. The electrodes have wires that connect to an electrocardiograph machine, which will record your heartbeat. Then they will inject you with a small amount of radioactive material through an intravenous line or direct injection into a vein.

The injected tracer will emit low-level radiation that is detected by a gamma camera that creates images of the heart. Your care team at UT Southwestern will use these images to measure your heart’s pumping function and look for signs of heart disease such as a weakened left ventricular ejection fraction or cardiac myopathy.