Nuclear Cardiology Laboratory

By Mayo Clinic Staff

The Nuclear Cardiology Laboratory at Mayo Clinic includes staff trained in cardiovascular diseases and radiology. The staff in the Nuclear Cardiology Laboratory collaborates to perform and interpret each study. This team approach ensures the technical and interpretive quality of each person's study.

In a nuclear stress test, doctors take images of your heart just after you've exercised on a treadmill or bicycle, or after you've been given medications to stress your heart, and again while you're at rest. In some cases, pacing may be used with people who have a pacemaker device.

During a nuclear stress test, doctors insert a radioactive dye called a tracer into a vein, usually in your hand or arm. Several different tracers may be used. The dye travels through your blood vessels to your heart. Imaging scans detect the radioactive dye and use it to develop images of your heart muscle. The scans show how well the blood flow is to your heart and can detect if you've had a heart attack.

Scans that are often used include:

Tests offered

The Nuclear Cardiology Laboratory offers a full range of tests. Not all tests may be available at all locations.

Tests offered include:

Stress testing to diagnose coronary artery disease

Scans that may be used include:

  • PET scan
  • SPECT scan

Testing for damaged heart muscle (myocardial viability) and heart dysfunction caused by reduced blood flow (myocardial hibernation)

Scans that may be used include:

  • PET scan
  • SPECT scan

Testing for a condition that causes the growth of collections of inflammatory cells in the heart (cardiac sarcoidosis)

This may include a PET scan.

Testing to check heart pumping function and to measure the percentage of blood that leaves the heart each time it contracts (ejection fraction)

This may include tests such as:

  • Multiple gated acquisition (MUGA), radionuclide angiography or ventriculography, or gated pool imaging
  • PET scan
  • SPECT scan

Testing to measure heart attack size

Scans that may be used include:

  • PET scan
  • SPECT scan

Nuclear cardiology services are offered at Mayo Clinic's campuses in Arizona, Florida and Minnesota. Not all services listed may be available at all locations.

See laboratory staff.