Nuclear Cardiology Laboratory Overview

A member of the health care team talks with a patient before a SPECT scan.

A member of the health care team will guide you through your nuclear medicine imaging procedure.

The Nuclear Cardiology Laboratory includes staff trained in cardiovascular diseases and nuclear medicine. This team helps ensure the technical and interpretive quality of a variety of key imaging tests for heart health and cardiovascular diseases. These tests include:

  • High altitude stress test.
  • Imaging for cardiac amyloidosis.
  • Imaging for left ventricular ejection fraction.
  • Myocardial perfusion imaging (MPI).
  • Nuclear stress tests (stress myocardial perfusion imaging).
  • Viability imaging

In all types of nuclear tests, specialized technologists inject a substance called a radioactive tracer into a vein, usually in the hand or arm. You also might hear this substance called a radiopharmaceutical or radioisotope. Several different tracers may be used for a specific test.

The tracer travels through the blood vessels to the heart. Imaging cameras (SPECT or PET) then take pictures and show images of the tracer. Depending on the type of tracer injected, images may show:

  • Blood flow to the heart muscle (perfusion).
  • Inflammation, such as in sarcoidosis.
  • Unusual proteins in the heart, such as in amyloidosis.

In a nuclear stress test, doctors take images of the heart before and after you've exercised on a treadmill or bicycle. Or they take images while you're at rest and again after you've been given medicine to stress the heart.

Some nuclear camera systems are combined with CT. This helps localize the tracer to specific organs or parts of organs. There is generally no contrast dye involved in these types of CT scans. And the amount of radiation from this type of CT is much lower than the amount of radiation received with a full comprehensive CT exam.

Different kinds of scanners may be used, including:

Conditions for which testing is offered

The Nuclear Cardiology Laboratory conducts testing for:

  • Cardiac amyloidosis.
  • Cardiac sarcoidosis.
  • Coronary artery disease.
  • Damaged heart muscle (myocardial infarction).
  • Endothelial dysfunction.
  • Heart attack size.
  • Heart dysfunction caused by reduced blood flow (myocardial hibernation).
  • Heart pumping function (ejection fraction).
  • Microvascular dysfunction.

Nuclear cardiology services are offered at Mayo Clinic in Arizona, Florida and Minnesota and at the Mayo Clinic Health System. Not all services listed may be available at all locations.

Nationally recognized expertise

Mayo Clinic is top-ranked in more specialties than any other hospital and has been recognized as an Honor Roll member according to the U.S. News & World Report's 2023-2024 "Best Hospitals" rankings.

Mayo Clinic campuses are nationally recognized for expertise in cardiology and cardiovascular surgery:

  • Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., Mayo Clinic in Phoenix/Scottsdale, Ariz., and Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla., are ranked among the Best Hospitals for heart and heart surgery by U.S. News & World Report.
  • Mayo Clinic Children's Center in Rochester is ranked the No. 1 hospital in Minnesota, and the five-state region of Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin, according to U.S. News & World Report's 2023–2024 "Best Children's Hospitals" rankings.



  • Mayo Clinic Nuclear Cardiology Laboratory
  • 13400 E. Shea Blvd.
    Scottsdale, AZ 85259
  • Phone: 480-301-8484


  • Mayo Clinic Nuclear Cardiology Laboratory
  • 4500 San Pablo Road
    Jacksonville, FL 32224
  • Phone: 904-953-0859


  • Mayo Clinic Nuclear Cardiology Laboratory
  • 200 First St. SW
    Rochester, MN 55905
  • Phone: 507-284-3994
Sept. 12, 2023