Nuclear Cardiology Tests at Mission Heritage Medical Group
A nuclear stress test helps measure blood flow to your heart muscle at
rest and during stress. It is similar to a routine exercise stress test
but with images in addition to electrocardiograms.
During a nuclear stress test, a radioactive substance is injected into
your bloodstream. This substance mixes with your blood and travels to
your heart. A special camera or scanner which detects the radioactive
material in your heart creates images of your heart muscle. The two most
common tests are:
- Myocardial perfusion scan. During this procedure, you exercise on a treadmill.
When you reach your maximum heart rate, you're given the injection.
Images are made of your heart shortly after exercise and also a few hours
later. This test shows how well blood flows into the heart muscle and
can detect narrowing of the coronary arteries.
- Multigated acquisition (MUGA) scan. In this test, you receive the injection
before exercising. Images are made of your heart before and after exercise.
A MUGA scan shows the motion of the heart and how well it pumps out blood.
- If you're unable to exercise, you may be injected with a medication
that increases blood flow to your heart muscle simulating exercise for the test.