Q:

When is the MUGA scan more useful than other tests?

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Quick Answer

A multigated acquisition scan is used to determine whether blood is flowing through the heart properly, which allows physicians to localize damage to the heart to a single location, according to About.com. MUGA scans are conducted on cancer patients to assess damage to the heart caused by chemotherapy, says Cancer.net.

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Full Answer

By being able to centralize damage to one area, physicians are able to diagnose heart issues and move along with treatment in a less experimental fashion, according to About.com. A MUGA scan utilizes a moving image to scan the ventricles of the lower chambers of the heart, the chambers that are most responsible for pumping blood through the heart. The scan is noninvasive, allowing it to be used repeatedly where other tests require invasive procedures.

The patient is injected with specialized red blood cells to highlight certain areas in the image, as claimed by About.com. Technetium 99, a radioactive substance, is added to the red blood cells in order to make those highlights appear. The red blood cells localize themselves to the chambers of the heart while the gamma camera the patient is placed under picks up on the radiation the red blood cells give off. The radiologist uses the outline the red blood cells create in a specialized computer software to create a moving image of the heart pumping blood.

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