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What is a MUGA?

A Rest Muga is a nuclear medicine study that is ordered by your doctor. This test helps your physician in determining how well your heart is able to function. This exam also allows your physician to visualize whether there has been any damage done to your heart by any problems you may have had previously.

The material used to visualize your heart is a radioisotope. This is not a contrast agent that causes allergic responses in some people. A radioisotope is a radioactive material that is bound with a specific agent that targets a certain area of the body. A special camera is then used to identify the radioactive material and place it on an image for the physician to read.

The radiation received during this test is very minimal. It is about the same level as a Chest X-ray would be. The radioisotopes naturally decay over time. They are removed from the body through your urine. It is recommended that after the test you drink plenty of fluids to speed this process up and to decrease the amount of radiation exposure you receive.

If there is any chance that you may be pregnant or breast feeding, notify the technologist before your test.

A small amount of blood will be drawn from a vein in your arm. A radioisotope will then be mixed with your blood. After 30 minutes, your radioactive blood will be given back to you through a vein in your arm.

For a Rest MUGA, you will lie quietly on a stretcher while a special camera takes pictures of your heart. You do not have to fast (go without food or drink) before a Rest MUGA. This test will take about an hour.

After the test is complete, the images will be compiled and given to a nuclear medicine physician to interpret. The results of your test will be given to your physician for them to discuss with you. Your physician or appointed nurse will be in contact with you within 48 hours after completion of the test.