Cardiac nuclear imaging uses radioactive materials (tracers) to obtain diagnostic images of the heart and vessels. Testing involves giving a tiny amount of a tracer to a patient. The tracer collects in the heart and gives off gamma rays, which are detected by a gamma camera. Skilled nuclear medicine technologists perform the tests, which are interpreted by experienced Medical College of Wisconsin nuclear medicine physicians.The two main types of cardiac nuclear imaging tests are:
- Multiple Gated Acquisition (MUGA) — measures how much blood the heart pumps or “ejects” with each contraction (the ejection fraction) and how quickly that blood is ejected.
- Nuclear medicine stress test (also called myocardial perfusion imaging) — evaluates the coronary arteries by determining changes in blood flow to the heart during exercise.
Learn more about other heart and vascular diagnostic tests we offer.