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Nuclear Imaging (Cardiac SPECT, MUGA)

Cardiac SPECT (single photon emission computed tomography) scans — also called myocardial perfusion imaging — are non-invasive tests that are used to assess the heart’s structure and function.

SPECT scans employ small amounts of radioactive substances that are injected into a vein and used with special cameras to produce images of the heart. Blood flow through the arteries is determined by how much of the radioactive substance is seen in the heart muscle. If there is a severe blockage in an artery to the heart then the radioactive tracer will not be able to get to the heart muscle as well as in other parts of the heart that get blood supply from a different artery.

Information obtained from SPECT scans can be used to:

  • Identify blockages in the coronary arteries
  • Determine whether someone has had a heart attack
  • Try to predict those at high risk for a heart attack 
  • Assess a patient’s condition after bypass surgery or angioplasty

MUGA (Multiple Gated Acquisition) Scan — also called radionuclide angiography (RNA) is a test that is used to evaluate the ejection fraction of the heart by measuring how much blood is pumped out of the ventricles of the heart with each heartbeat. A small amount of a safe radioactive tracer solution is administered into a vein through and IV line. This substance tracer will attach to the red blood cells, which can be detected by the camera as they travel through the heart. The ejection fraction can then be calculated. MUGA scans are often used on patients who are receiving chemotherapy that may affect the heart muscle strength.


To learn more about the services provided by Westchester Heart and Vascular please contact us at:

866-WMC-HEART (866.962.4327).