What We Do

This test uses a radioactive tracer to check how well your heart is pumping, the effects of chemotherapy on your heart, and the reason you have shortness of breath. (In other words, is the problem with your lungs or your heart?)

The test also helps with checking congestive heart failure and your health before having a heart transplant.​

 Materials and Resources to Help You

The Patient & Family Education Program at UHN offers valuable resources to help you understand your condition.

Resources from the Patient & Family Education Program

Visit our Health Information section to find dedicated resources to help you understand your condition. Find the information you're looking for.​

 Your Procedure

How to Prepare

Please bring with you a list of your current medications. This includes prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, vitamin or mineral supplements and herbal remedies.

DO NOT eat 3 to 4 hours before the test, but you may have juice or water.

A friend or family member is required to be present in the lab during the test. They'll be instructed on how to care for you after the exam and required to drive and/or accompany you home. They can also help you gather information, take notes and ask questions.

Checking In

When you arrive at the Nuclear Cardiology Lab, check in at the reception desk. Please have the following ready:

  • Health card (OHIP card). If you do not have an OHIP card, please bring another form of government-issued photo ID (such as a driver's license, passport, or other provincial health card). Please arrive 15 minutes before your appointment.
  • Your name, address and birth date

Before the Exercise Radionuclide Angiography Test (MUGA)

When you check-in, the receptionist will give you a name band to wear. The technologist will call you when it is time for your test. You will be asked to change into a hospital gown. There are lockers for your clothes in the changing area, but you should keep your valuables with you.

When you have finished changing, a technologist will take you into the room. They will explain the procedure and ask for your consent.

During and After the Exercise Radionuclide Angiography Test (MUGA)

A technologist will explain the test to you and ask about your medical history and medications. You'll then be given two needles about 20 to 30 minutes apart. The first injection is a preparation for the second injection which is the radioactive tracer. Then the technologist will do an ECG and check your blood pressure and heart rate.

You'll be asked to lie down on a bed so a special camera can take pictures of your heart from 3 or 4 angles. Each picture takes 5 to 10 minutes, and it's very important that you don't move while these are being taken. Next, pictures will be taken while you pedal a bicycle. The bicycle tension will be increased every 3 minutes.

The supervising doctor may change some details in the procedures. The test might take longer if a scan needs to be done, emergency cases come to the department or there are unexpected results.

The Results of the Exercise Radionuclide Angiography Test (MUGA)

Once the test is completed, the technologist uploads your results to your records. The physician/radiologist will write a report and send it to your doctor.

The technologist cannot give you the results during your visit.

How Long Will Your Appointment Be?

The exercise MUGA takes about 90 minutes.

We do everything that we can to stay on time. Unfortunately, your appointment may be delayed by unforeseen circumstances. We recommend that you come prepared for delays.​

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