Supporting women whose lives have been touched by breast cancer


A MUGA scan shows the doctors how well your heart is functioning at pumping out the blood. Since some types of chemos are hard on your heart, it is important for the doctors to check this function to ensure that your heart is working well especially if you have a previous cardiac history or may be receiving herceptin. There are 2 different ways to do this test depending on your hospital and their physicians. When you arrive at the hospital, the nurse will set up a cannula in your vein. A tube of blood may be taken and the nurse will work with the blood for approximately 30 minutes and then will inject it back into you. Your blood is prepared to have a radioactive tracer attached to the red cells in your blood sample. Once the radioactive tracer has been attached to your red cells, the cells are reinjected and pictures are taken of your heart. The whole test usually takes approximately 1 hour and you won’t feel any different.

Alternatively, you may have the cannula set up by the nurse and then receive 2 different injections 30 minutes apart. The first injection prepares your red cells in your blood and allows the radioactive tracer to attach. The second injection is the radioactive tracer which when attached to your red cells in your blood allows us to measure how well your heart is pumping out the blood. The whole test takes approximately one hour and you get the same results independent of the method used to label the blood. There are no side effects and you won’t feel any different when you leave after having this test done. A report will be sent to your doctor usually in 7-10 days.

What it's like to have a MUGA scan