What Is A MUGA Scan?
Do you want to know what is a MUGA scan – the one your doctor prescribed recently? Well, that is what this blog tends to show! Here, you can find a detailed insight into the imaging test called MUGA, or, to be more precise, Multigated Acquisition Scan.
So, hold your seats and keep reading!
Overview: What is a MUGA Scan?
MUGA scan is the imaging modality for evaluating how well your heart pumps blood. Perhaps, it is one of the advanced nuclear medicine scans that help doctors screen the structural and dynamic properties of the heart!
The scan serves to assess a percentage known as Ejection Fraction or EF. This EF is basically the rate at which a heart pumps blood each time it contracts. For instance, if the scan results show that the EF stands at 70%, it indicates your heart pumps 70% of the total blood it contains. An EF rate between 50% to 75% is typically considered normal by healthcare professionals.
A MUGA scan also shows how your heart contracts and relaxes when you perform some physical exercises or take a rest. It often gets called Radionuclide Ventriculography or RNVG, Blood Pool Scan, and sometimes Equilibrium Radionuclide Angiocardiography (ERNA).
When Do Doctors Recommend A MUGA Scan?
Doctors recommend a MUGA scan when patients have two or more of the following symptoms, like –
- Swollen feet or hands,
- Shortness of breath,
- Chronic chest pain,
- Dizziness, or
Yes. These are the signs of heart failure and where a MUGA scan comes into diagnostic aid!
Sometimes, doctors also recommend this test before and after cancer treatments, such as –
- Bone marrow transplant,
- Radiation therapy to your chest, or
Your doctor needs to check whether the cancer treatment has led to any damage to your heart!
Your doctor may recommend a MUGA scan to check your cardiac functions if you have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or ischemic disease. Doctors also use this scan to identify intracardiac shunts.
How Does A MUGA Scan Work?
A MUGA scan involves taking multiple-angled pictures of your heart at different time points to generate composite films of your various cardiac cycles, thereby presenting them in two-dimensional type on the computer.
The scan indulges in using a small amount of radioactive tracer referred to as technetium-99m-pertechnetate; shortly, Tc-99m. After the chemical gets administered into your veins, it attaches to your RBCs (Red Blood Cells), and a gamma camera helps show how and where these chemicals move throughout your body while your heart keeps beating.
In case of a resting test, you have to lie on a table or bed. Whereas, in the case of an exercise test, the healthcare professionals shall ask you to ride a treadmill or cycling machine until your heart rate reaches its highest point, typical for the exercise. Then, they shall ask you to lie down to finish the screening.
It is a non-invasive and painless test, where you do not require any hospital stay. A MUGA scan takes around an hour or two to complete. After that, you shall be free to return to work or home. The radioactive tracer is likely to exit your body within two days. Until then, you should drink a lot of water to ensure it gets completely flushed out!
How to Prepare For A MUGA Scan?
Of course, you have to follow whatever personalized instructions your healthcare providers give for your MUGA scan! But, the basic preparation includes the following.
- You must talk to the healthcare providers about which medications or supplements you intake. It is because there lay certain medicinal drugs that healthcare professionals may forbid taking before pursuing the MUGA scan.
- If you are pregnant, you must inform your doctor about it, as the involvement of radioactive tracers can be harmful to the fetus. In such a case, your doctor may recommend an alternative safer modality.
- You should avoid drinking alcohol and caffeine for at least some hours before up-taking a MUGA scan, especially if it is the resting one!
- You also have to make sure about what you eat the previous day. Try avoiding junk foods to prevent indigestion and uneasiness during the scan time. The healthcare providers may ask you to stop eating or drinking for some hours before the scan, typically for an exercise scan type. You must abide by it!
- Furthermore, you should wear loose and comfortable clothes for the scan. Although, most of the radiology labs offer gowns during the test. But, if they don’t, your MUGA test can go smoothly with such clothes.
Are There Any Risks of MUGA Scans?
A MUGA scan does not usually bring any risks or health complications! The radioactivity which the tracer and the gamma camera emits is extremely low. In fact, the level of radioactivity is much lower herein than in an X-ray scan.
However, due to the presence of the chemical in your body after the scan, you may experience certain side effects, such as –
- Skin rashes, redness, or allergic reactions,
- Fatigue or tiredness,
- Nausea or vomiting,
- Irregular heartbeat,
- Dizziness, uneasiness, and fainting,
- Swelling from Fluid buildup, and so forth!
Relax! These after-effects are not threatening and are likely to disappear on their own soon after the radioactive tracer gets flushed out of your body through urine, loo, or sweat.
Besides, you may witness difficulties flushing out the chemical if you have a kidney or liver problem that requires you to take fluids within a limit. Hence, you must consult your doctor about such a condition before undertaking the MUGA scan.
By now, you must have a brief idea about what is a MUGA scan! You must consult a doctor if you need such a scan because you would require the doctor’s recommendation to pursue it. No diagnostic center allows self-referral for a MUGA scan.
If you have any queries or doubts about this scan, you can feel free to ask us at [email protected]. We shall come back with the most accurate answer as soon as possible.
Till then, stay tuned, and stay safe!