Nuclear stress test - Treadmill & Lexiscan
Nuclear stress test images showing Contraction and relaxation of the left ventricle during a heartbeat cycle
A Nuclear stress test is used to assess heart function. It can be used to measure how well the heart supplies blood to the body as well as to see if there are any areas where the heart muscle does not receive good blood flow either due to damage (myocardial infarction - MI) or temporary lack of oxygen at stress (ischemia). Nuclear stress tests are often performed for cardiac clearance prior to surgery.
MUGA - checks heart function without a stress test
MUGA scans are used to assess the heart function without performing a stress test. It is mostly used for pre-surgical clearance, pre-chemotherapy and post-chemotherapy cardiac assessment. Known CHF patients or patients with cardiomegaly can also be monitored using MUGA if there are no indications for a stress test.
Myocardial Viability scan to check heart muscle viability
Myocardial viability scan is used to assess the viability of heart muscles after a heart attack or myocardial infarction (MI). Images are acquired after injection of a radioactive tracer called Thallium. The patient is asked to return 4 hours later for a second set of images.
Both images are then reviewed by a radiologist or nuclear cardiologist.