Coulda Shoulda MUGA

I ventured over to Redwood City Kaiser this morning to have my MUGA scan in the nuclear medicine department.  The technician explained the procedure to me and then extracted 3ml of my blood to mix with Technetium 99 (which I think might have been the same isotope used for my sentinel node biopsy).  I don’t typically have problems with needles, but I mentally (ok, maybe physically, too) winced at the pronounced sting of the prick.  When I asked the technician about the needle gauge, he admitted he had to use a somewhat wider than normal needle to preserve the structural integrity of the red blood cells so they could bind more effectively to the Technetium tracer.  Sigh.  The things I do for science.

Next I trundled off to the waiting room for about 15 minutes while my blood and the Technetium shared some quality bonding time together. When I returned to the treatment area, my newly radioactive blood sample awaited in a shielded syringe, arranged tidily next to saline syringes and disinfectant wipes on an orange sterile plastic lunch tray.  A few injections later, we walked next door for the actual imaging of my heart’s ventricular function.  Supine, I reclined on a track mounted bed, head comfortably nestled on a soft white pillow, legs elevated on two more of the same.

The technician attached two electrodes to my chest and one to my abdomen and then slid me under the gamma camera, which strongly resembled the ajar lid of an oversized flatbed scanner.  He requested that I lie still for approximately 15 minutes, which I accomplished by falling asleep almost immediately.  Seemingly seconds later (and before I’d had a proper opportunity to dream about being fed through a duplex sorter), the machine beeped, the technician glanced over my images, and I was on my way.

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