Cardiac Blood Pool Scan
A cardiac blood pool scan shows how well
your heart is pumping blood to the rest of your body.
During this test, a small amount of a radioactive substance called a
tracer is injected into a vein. A gamma camera detects
the radioactive material as it flows through the heart and lungs.
The percentage of blood pumped out of the heart with each heartbeat is
ejection fraction. It provides an estimate of how well
the heart is working.
There are two types of cardiac blood pool
- First-pass scan. This scan makes pictures of the
blood as it goes through the heart and lungs the first time. A first-pass scan
can be used in children to look for heart problems that have been present since
birth (congenital heart disease).
- Gated scan or multigated acquisition (MUGA) scan. This scan uses the electrical signals of the heart to trigger the
camera to take a series of pictures that can be viewed later like a motion
picture. The pictures record the heart's motion and determine if it is pumping
(contracting) properly. MUGA scanning may take 2 to 3 hours to obtain all the
needed views and can be done both before and after you exercise. You may be
given nitroglycerin to see how your heart responds to this medicine. MUGA
scanning may be done after a first-pass scan. It is usually not done on
Why It Is Done
A cardiac blood pool scan is done
- Check the size of the heart chambers (ventricles).
- Check the pumping action of
the lower ventricles.
- Look for an abnormality in the wall of the
ventricles, such as an
- Look for abnormal movement of
blood between the heart chambers.
How To Prepare
Before having a cardiac blood pool
scan, tell your health professional if you:
- Are allergic to any medicines.
or might be pregnant.
- Have recently had any test that uses a
radioactive tracer, such as a bone scan or thyroid scan.
- Have a
pacemaker or other metal device implanted in your chest.
These devices may make it hard to obtain clear pictures of the blood flow
through the heart.
You may be asked not to eat or drink for a few hours before the
test. You should not have any caffeine or smoke for 4 to 6 hours before the
If testing will include exercise, you should wear
comfortable shoes and clothing.
Many medicines may affect the
results of this test. Be sure to tell your health professional about all the
nonprescription and prescription medicines you take.
Talk to your
doctor about any concerns you have regarding the need for the test, its risks,
how it will be done, or what the results will mean. To help you understand
the importance of this test, fill out the
medical test information form(What is a PDF document?).