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Stress MUGA Studies

Stress MUGA studies (exercise gated blood pool imaging) use an ECG machine while imaging your heart. The result of the scans is a movie of your beating heart, which will allow your physician to assess how well it is pumping blood.

When you schedule your appointment, you will be given a time for a 12-lead EKG, which will be completed before your stress MUGA study. The 12-lead EKG will be performed in the Cardiology Department and after, you will go to the Nuclear Medicine Department for the stress MUGA study.

When you arrive for your stress MUGA appointment, you will receive an injection that will allow the radioactive tracer to "hook" into your blood. About 20 to 30 minutes after this injection, a small vial of your blood is drawn and allowed to mix with a radioactive tracer. About ten minutes later, your blood, with the radioactive tracer, is injected back into your body.

There are two parts to this test, a resting study and an exercise study.

Resting Study

After your blood is injected back into your arm, four images of your heart will be taken. Each image takes five to 10 minutes to create. This part of the test takes 60 to 90 minutes to complete.

Stress Study

After the resting study is complete, a series of images will be taken while you are riding an exercise bike. A doctor will be present at all times during the stress study to monitor your condition. The stress study will show the change in your heart's pumping ability between resting and exercise.

If you are having a stress MUGA study, you should plan on it taking at least three hours.


  • Do not eat two hours before your appointment.
  • Bring a complete list of your medications to your appointment. Please follow your physician's instructions regarding your heart medication.
  • Do not stop any medication without the specific instruction of your physician.
  • Remember to bring the written order. (prescription), for this test, given to you by your doctor.


  • Patients of childbearing age should review the pregnancy and breastfeeding guidelines.