Your MUGA Scan explained

This patient information is for patients having a MUGA Scan. It aims to tell you what a MUGA Scan is and what will happen.

Your MUGA scan explainedTo view a PDF you may need to download Adobe Reader.

General information

A doctor has asked that we take some pictures of your heart.

If the appointment clashes with another outpatient appointment, or you are unable to attend on this day, please contact the department as soon as possible.  We can then reschedule the test and assign the appointment to another patient.  This will help to reduce our waiting lists and operating costs.

As the test involves small amounts of radiation, we ask that you are not accompanied by children under 18 or anyone who may be pregnant. You may bring one adult with you to the department.

If you have mobility issues, are incontinent or claustrophobic please contact the department on the number provided.

Benefit and risks of the test

Everyone receives some radiation every day from the radioactivity in the air, food we eat and even from space.  The amount of radiation in a nuclear medicine test is similar to your natural exposure over one year so the risks associated with it are low.

The main benefit of the test is making the correct diagnosis, so you can get the treatment that is right for you.  This benefit is far greater than the small risk from radiation.

What does the test involve?

The test involves giving two small injections into one of the veins in your hands or arms about twenty minutes apart.  One of the injections contains a small amount of a radioactive tracer. There should be no ill effects from the injections.

Once the injections have been given we will take pictures of your heart with a Gamma Camera (see photos). After the pictures have been taken you are free to leave the department.


If you are pregnant or breast-feeding you must inform the department as quickly as possible as special arrangements may have to be made.

There is no special preparation required for this test.  Please bring with you a list of any medication that you are on (your repeat prescription sheet if possible). Please eat and drink as normal.

After the test

For the rest of the day, you must take extra care to wash your hands thoroughly after toilet use, sit down when you use the toilet and to flush the toilet twice.  You must also continue to drink extra fluids and empty your bladder frequently. This will improve the clearance of the radiation from your body.

When the test is completed, the images will be reviewed and a report will be available to the doctor who has requested the test.

The camera

The Gamma Camera used to take the pictures has an open design and the majority of patients complete the test without any discomfort.

Department of Nuclear Medicine

Lincoln County Hospital     01522 573103

Grantham Hospital              01476 464777