What is a Multigated Cardiac Study (MUGA)?

This test provides information about the strength of your heart muscle. It is used to evaluate how much blood your heart is able to eject with each beat. This test is also called a Gated Blood Pool Study. Special pictures are taken of your heart using a radioactive tracer that is injected through a vein in your arm.


Your physician may order this test to evaluate symptoms such as:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Inability to sleep on your back without experiencing severe shortness of breath
  • Fatigue

This test is also important to evaluate the heart function of cancer patients before beginning chemotherapy, since some cancer medications may cause a decrease in the strength of your heart muscle.

What can I expect during the procedure?

First you will be given a medication called PYP in a vein in your arm. This medication will be allowed to circulate for 20 minutes so that it can be absorbed into your red blood cells. Next you will be given an injection of a radioactive tracer which binds with the PYP and allows us to see the blood passing through your heart. You will then be asked to lie flat on an imaging table with the camera above your chest. The camera will take three separate pictures, which will be analyzed and stored on a computer for the cardiologist to read.

This test will be interpreted by a cardiologist with special training in nuclear studies. The physician will study the pictures to evaluate the motion of the walls of the heart muscle as it pumps blood to the rest of your body. The most important part of this evaluation is the ejection fraction. This is the percentage of blood that your left ventricle ejects with every contraction, and it is a very good indicator of the strength of the heart muscle.

How do I prepare for the procedure?

No special preparation is required for this examination. The medications used will not affect your ability to drive. This test will take approximately 30 - 45 minutes.