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Cardiac Blood Pool Scan

How It Is Done continued...

If you are having a multigated acquisition (MUGA) scan, a blood sample may be taken and the tracer added to it, and then it will be reinjected into your vein.

The gamma camera will take pictures as the radioactive tracer moves through your bloodstream and into your heart. It is important not to move while the scan is under way.

The camera does not produce any radiation, so you are not exposed to any additional radiation while the scan is being done. You will need to hold still during each view, which may take up to 5 minutes. You may be asked to:

  • Change position for each different view.
  • Do some exercise between scans to see how well your heart functions after the stress of exercise.
  • Take nitroglycerin to see how well your heart responds to the medicine.

The radioactive tracer is designed to attach to your blood cells, which takes 20 to 30 minutes. You will then have to wait 2 to 4 hours until the tracer is completely absorbed by your red blood cells. During that time, you may have to stay at the test center. Some test centers may allow you to leave and come back when it is time for your scan.

Testing usually takes 10 minutes to an hour, depending on which studies are done. MUGA scanning may require 2 to 3 hours to obtain all the needed views.

After the test

Once your scan is complete, you usually will be able to leave the testing room right away. You may have to wait at the test center until all of your scan images have been reviewed. If you moved during the scan and the images turned out blurry, the scan may have to be repeated.

Drink lots of water and urinate frequently after your scan to make sure that the tracer flushes completely out of your body. It takes a day or two for the tracer to be completely eliminated.

How It Feels

You may feel nothing at all from the needle puncture when the tracer is injected, or you may feel a brief sting or pinch as the needle goes through the skin. Otherwise, a cardiac blood pool scan is usually painless. You will not feel anything from the operation of the gamma camera. You may find it hard to remain still during the scan. The examination table may feel cool. Ask for a pillow or blanket to make yourself as comfortable as possible before the scan begins.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 12, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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