Nuclear Cardiology

Nuclear cardiology is a non-invasive imaging technique that allows physicians to evaluate the heart in action during stress testing. It’s used to determine both the presence of coronary artery disease, and the extent of its progression.

At UNC, cardiologists and radiologists work closely together to evaluate heart patients and determine the best course of treatment. That combination of multi-disciplinary collaboration among experienced specialists – along with the latest technologies and the most advanced techniques – keeps UNC on the leading edge of nuclear cardiology.

Because each type of nuclear radiology test has its own advantages, radiology physicians at UNC have access to the full range of capabilities, including myocardial perfusion imaging, PET (positron emission tomography) rubidium studies, and the MUGA scan (Multiple Gated Acquisition).

Myocardial perfusion imaging at UNC may be performed on an outpatient basis at the Heart Center at Meadowmont in Chapel Hill, or as an outpatient or inpatient at the UNC Hospital. Patients are injected with a small amount of radioactive material, then have their hearts put under stress either through exercise or with a specialized drug. Images allow the physician to track blood flow through the heart, indicating either a healthy heart, or where a blockage or narrowing of arteries may indicate a need for treatment.

The PET rubidium study also measures perfusion, but is more sensitive and provides better resolution than standard nuclear technology. PET rubidium studies can usually be completed within an hour.

MUGA scans accurately and reliably measure cardiac function, and give both heart failure and oncology specialists important information in guiding therapy.


Nuclear Cardiology
Larry Klein, MD

Nuclear Medicine Physicians
William McCartney, MD
Arif Sheikh, MD
Amir Khandani, MD

Contact Us

Call the Heart & Vascular Center referral line at 866-862-4327 to find specialists, make an appointment or learn more about preventing heart disease.

Open Access is a new physician referral service, created by the UNC Center for Heart & Vascular Care, which coordinates all admissions and transfers through a single phone call and guarantees immediate acceptance for patients. Please contact us to learn more or call 866-862-4327.

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