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Quick and Dirty Preliminary MUGA Results

by Tom on July 15th, 2009

Yesterday I did yet another test; this one to check the strength of the left ventricle of my heart.

A few of the chemotherapy drugs, especially one named Adriamycin, can (but don’t always) have a toxic effect on the heart. Before starting treatment with it, Dr Norman wanted to find out the current strength of my heart. If we suspect that my heart is getting hurt by the drug, we can retest and find out for certain.

The process began with the technician, Red, taking a few CCs of my blood. Then he sent us (my brother and I) away for a half hour while he mixed my blood with a radioisotope.

One coffee and snack later, we returned and Red gave my newly-radioactive blood back. Only slightly radioactive though; just enough to be able to be detected by their camera.

Next I laid down in a bed just like the ones used for the CT and PET scans. Red attached some electrodes to me that would configure their computer to time the scaning to my heartbeat.

A MUGA scan consists of three different viewing angles of the heart, each individually being collected for 4-8 minutes (they reposition the sensor plate between each series). During this time, the sensors are timed to take 20 snapshots per heartbeat.

Later, the tech can find which frame has the left ventricle fully expanded and which has it fully contracted. Then look at these two frames across each series.

From all of this they can derive an estimate of how much of the left ventricle’s blood gets squeezed out each time.

Normal range is from around 55%-75%.

Red said that I have what they call “a good squeezer” and that a quick estimate (by looking at a small set of the frames) is that I’m beating 74.5% of my left ventricle blood each time.

Woo hoo!

That should be the last active medical thing to happen to my body this week, but now I have to deal with removing my surgical wrappings. Peel peel peel. Eww.

From → Diagnostic Phase

One Comment
  1. Julie permalink

    If you have any really sticky dressings, oil can help you get them off – works great for adhesives too. Olive oil or baby oil should do the job. Glad to hear you have such a great heart, as if we didn’t know already!

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