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Nuclear Stress Test

Including: Exercise & Pharmacological Nuclear Imaging


What is a nuclear stress test?

A nuclear stress test provides pictures of blood flow throughout the heart and helps your doctor determine if there are any possible blockages in the arteries of your heart. A nuclear stress test involves taking two sets of images of your heart: one set while you are under stress (either from running on a treadmill or from utilizing medicine to simulate exercise), and another set while you are at rest. A radioactive dye will be injected into your bloodstream through an I.V. and it will light up on the images to reveal any blockage in the heart.


How do I prepare?

  • We will provide you with instructions once your test is scheduled.




Wall Motion Studies (MUGA Scan)

What is a MUGA scan?

Radionuclide ventriculography (RVG, RNV) or radionuclide angiography (RNA) is often referred to as a MUGA (multiple-gated acquisition) scan. It is a type of nuclear imaging test. This scan shows how well your heart is pumping.


    • A MUGA scan is a test using a radioactive tracer (called a radionuclide) and a special camera to take pictures of your heart as it pumps blood.

    • The test measures how well your heart pumps with every heartbeat.

    • The test is called “multi-gated” because a gamma camera takes pictures at specific times during each heartbeat.

    • The test may be done while you stay still (resting scan), exercise or both.

    • The test measures your ejection fraction, which is the amount of blood pumped out of the heart during each heartbeat (contraction). It’s usually expressed as a percentage. For example, an ejection fraction of 60 percent means that 60 percent of the total amount of blood in the left ventricle when it is full is pumped out with each heartbeat. A normal ejection fraction is between 50 and 75 percent.


How do I get ready for my test?

    • For a “resting” scan, your doctor may ask you to avoid drinks containing alcohol or caffeine such as coffee, tea or soft drinks for several hours before the test.

    • For an “exercise” scan, don’t eat or drink anything except water for 4 hours before your test. Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing and comfortable shoes.

    • Your doctor will explain any changes in your medicine that you may need to make to prepare for the scan.



Renal Scan

What is Renal Scanning?

A renal scan is a nuclear medicine exam in which a small amount of radioactive material (radioisotope) is used to measure the function of the kidneys.


What is the procedure?

You will be asked to lie on the scanner table. The health care provider will place a tight band or blood pressure cuff on your upper arm. This creates pressure and helps your arm veins become bigger. A small amount of radioisotope is injected into a vein. The specific radioisotope used may vary, depending on what is being studied.


The cuff or band on the upper arm is removed, and the radioactive material moves through your blood. The kidneys are scanned a short time later. Several images are taken, each lasting 1 or 2 seconds. The total scan time takes about 30 minutes to 1 hour.


A computer reviews the images and provides detailed information about how your kidney works. For example, it can tell your doctor how much blood the kidney filters over time. A diuretic drug ("water pill") may also be injected during the test. This helps speed up the passage of radioisotope through your kidneys.


You should be able to go home after the scan. You may be asked to drink plenty of fluids and urinate often to help remove the radioactive material from the body.




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