A radionuclide ventriculogram (RVG) uses a radioactive chemical injected into your child’s vein to show how well his heart is pumping. It measures the amount and flow of blood that is pumped with each heartbeat. An RVG also gives information about the size of the chambers of the heart and the strength of the heart muscle. It is also called a MUGA (multigated acquisition) scan.
The heart has 4 sections, or chambers. The upper chambers are each called atria, and the lower chambers are called ventricles. Blood flows from the right atrium into the right ventricle, and the right ventricle pumps it to the lungs. As it passes through the lungs, the blood picks up oxygen and leaves behind carbon dioxide. Then the blood flows back to the heart and into the left atrium, and from there into the left ventricle. The left ventricle pumps the blood out to the rest of the body, with a small amount going to the heart muscle itself.
An RVG can detect early changes in your child’s heart that might be missed by other tests. It may be used to check how well the heart is pumping if your child has:
An ECG (also called an EKG or electrocardiogram) to measure and record your child’s heartbeat is done at the same time. For an ECG, small sticky pads are put on your child’s chest, arms, and legs. Long wires will be attached to the pads and connected to a recording machine.
For the RVG, your child will lie down on a table. A radioactive chemical is injected into your child’s vein. The level of radiation is about the same as the amount from a chest X-ray. The radioactive chemical goes through the bloodstream to your child’s heart. A camera that shows the radioactive chemical takes several pictures during each heartbeat while your child is resting. Your child may also have an RVG while he exercises on a treadmill or pedals a stationary bicycle.
After the test, your child can go home and go back to normal activities. Any skin irritation from the ECG pads will go away quickly after they are removed.
Ask your healthcare provider:
Make sure you know when your child should come back for a checkup. Keep all appointments for provider visits or tests.
Every procedure or treatment has risks. Some possible risks of this procedure include:
Ask your healthcare provider how these risks apply to your child. Be sure to discuss any other questions or concerns that you may have.