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Muga Scan

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jan 5, 2023.

What do I need to know about a MUGA scan?

A multigated acquisition (MUGA) scan is a test used to examine the lower chambers of your heart (ventricles). It shows how well the ventricles pump blood. Healthcare providers will measure the amount of blood that pumps out of your heart with each heartbeat. You may have this test while you are at rest, with exercise, or both.

How do I prepare for a MUGA scan?

Your healthcare provider will talk to you about how to prepare for the test. Your provider will tell you which medicines to take or not take on the day of your test. You may need to avoid smoking and drinking liquids with caffeine for up to 48 hours before the test. Drinks that contain caffeine include coffee, tea, or soft drinks. You may not be allowed to eat, or drink anything except water for up to 6 hours before the test. Wear comfortable shoes and clothes if you will do exercise with this test.

What will happen during a MUGA scan?

  • Electrodes will be placed on your chest, arms, and legs. The electrodes are connected to an EKG machine that records the electrical activity of your heart. A radioactive substance called a tracer will be injected into a vein, usually in your hand or arm. The tracer will allow your healthcare provider to see your blood as it moves through your heart. For a scan done at rest, you will lie on a table and pictures of your heart will be taken.
  • For an exercise scan, you will be asked to walk on a treadmill or ride a stationary bike for a period of time. You will then lie down on a table and pictures of your heart will be taken. You may instead lie on a table and pedal a stationary bike that is mounted on the table. Pictures of your heart will be taken while you pedal. If you cannot exercise, you may instead be given a medicine that increases blood flow to your heart. The MUGA scan usually takes 1 to 2 hours.

What will happen after a MUGA scan?

You will need to drink plenty of liquids after this test. This will help flush the tracer out of your body. Ask your healthcare provider how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you.

What are the risks of a MUGA scan?

The area where the tracer was injected could become red, swollen, or painful. Medicine given to increase blood flow to your heart may cause chest pain if you have heart disease. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not have this test. The fetus or baby can be exposed to a small amount of radiation from the tracer used during these tests.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.