Resting radionuclide angiogram (RNA) is a type of nuclear medicine test. Doctors use a tiny amount of a radioactive substance, called a tracer, during the scan to help show the heart’s chambers in motion. This test can tell the doctor how well the heart pumps and how much blood is pumped with each heartbeat. This is called the ejection fraction.
Your doctor injects a radioactive tracer (usually technetium) into an arm vein. The tracer “tags" blood cells so your doctor can track them with a scanner as they move through the heart. A special camera (called a gamma camera) then records the heart muscle at work, like a movie. Your doctor can match these recordings with the electrocardiogram (ECG). An ECG is a recording of the heart's electrical activity.
If the heart muscle doesn’t move normally, or not enough blood is pumped out by the heart, it may be a sign of one or more of the following:
Reasons for your doctor to request a resting radionuclide angiogram (RNA) include:
If your doctor thinks you have some type of heart disease, a resting RNA may be done.
There may be other reasons for your doctor to recommend this test.
Your doctor uses only a small amount of the radioactive tracer. So, there is no need for precautions against radiation exposure.
The injection of the radioactive tracer may cause some sight discomfort. Allergic reactions to the tracer are rare.
If you are pregnant or think you could be, tell your healthcare provider. Radiation exposure during pregnancy may lead to birth defects. If you are breastfeeding, tell your healthcare provider.
There may be other risks depending on your specific medical condition. Be sure to discuss any concerns with your doctor before the procedure.
Certain factors may interfere with or affect the results of this test. These include:
A resting radionuclide angiogram (RNA) may be done on an outpatient basis or as part of your stay in a hospital. Steps may vary depending on your condition and your doctor's practices.
Generally, a resting RNA follows this process:
Be sure to move slowly when getting up from the scanner table to avoid any dizziness or lightheadedness from lying flat for the length of the test.
Drink plenty of fluids and empty your bladder often for 24 to 48 hours after the test to help flush the remaining radioactive tracer from your body.
A nurse will check the IV site for any signs of redness or swelling. If you notice any pain, redness, or swelling at the IV site after you go home, tell your doctor as this may be a sign of infection or other type of reaction.
Your doctor may give you other instructions after the test, depending on your situation.
Before you agree to the test or the procedure make sure you know: