Nuclear Scan Specialist

Cary Cardiology, P.A.

Multi-Specialty Cardiovascular Group located in Cary, NC & Fuquay-Varina, NC

When standard tests can't detect the cause of symptoms that suggest you have a heart condition, a nuclear scan could provide the answers. The experienced team at Cary Cardiology, P.A., performs state-of-the-art on-site nuclear scans, including MUGA (multiple gated acquisition) and PYP imaging. To benefit from their exceptional facilities and diagnostic expertise, call Cary Cardiology, P.A., today or book an appointment online.

Nuclear Scan Q & A

What is a nuclear scan?

A nuclear scan is an imaging test of your heart that uses a radioactive substance (tracer) to create detailed pictures of the way your heart functions.

Your provider at Cary Cardiology, P.A., injects the Cardiolite® tracer (technetium tc 99m sestamibi) into your blood and it travels to your heart. A nuclear scan uses SPECT (single photon emission computed tomography) or PET (cardiac positron emission tomography) imaging technology that detects the energy from the Cardiolite tracer.

The pictures nuclear scans create show whether your blood is flowing properly to all parts of your heart and whether you have coronary heart disease. Nuclear scans can also pick up damaged or dead tissues in your heart muscle, which could be due to a previous heart attack.

Why might I need to undergo a nuclear scan?

A nuclear scan might be necessary if a standard electrocardiogram (EKG) or stress test doesn't find the cause of your heart-related symptoms. A resting EKG measures the heart's electrical activity and is typically one of the first tests you have if you're experiencing symptoms of a heart problem.

If nothing shows on your EKG, the Cary Cardiology, P.A., team might perform a stress test, where you raise your heart rate through exercise while attached to an EKG machine. 

Sometimes heart problems that aren't detectable at rest show up when you're exerting yourself; if there's still insufficient information, a nuclear scan could be the next step.

What type of nuclear scan might I need?

There are several types of nuclear scan, including:


A MUGA (multiple gated acquisition scan) is useful for evaluating the strength of your heart muscle. MUGA allows the team to measure the volume of blood exiting the chamber each time your heart beats, known as the ejection fraction.

A MUGA scan can detect parts of your heart muscle that are functioning abnormally after a heart attack and indicate which of your coronary arteries are affected by atherosclerosis (plaque buildup).

PYP imaging

A PYP (pyrophosphate) nuclear scan uses radioactive Tc99m-PYP to perform an amyloidosis study. This test can detect cardiac amyloidosis, a rare condition in which a protein (amyloid) made in your bone marrow starts to build up in your heart. Amyloidosis can lead to heart failure.

The kind of nuclear scan you require depends on what your symptoms and previous tests indicate could be the root of your condition. In most cases, your nuclear scan will consist of both resting and stress tests.

To find out more about nuclear scans and how they can help diagnose or assess your heart condition, contact  Cary Cardiology, P.A., Call the office or book an appointment online today.