What is a resting radionuclide angiogram (RNA)?

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A resting radionuclide angiogram (RNA) is a type of nuclear medicine procedure. This means that a tiny amount of a radioactive substance, called a radionuclide (radiopharmaceutical or radioactive tracer), is used during the procedure to assist in the examination of the tissue under study. Specifically, resting RNA evaluates the heart's chambers in motion.

A radionuclide (usually technetium) will be injected into an arm vein to "tag" the blood cells so their progress through the heart can be traced with a scanner. A special camera (gamma camera) will make recordings of the heart wall at work, like a motion picture. These recordings will be synchronized with the heartbeat by using the electrocardiogram (ECG, or recording of the heart's electrical activity).

A cardiologist (a physician who specializes in heart disease) trained in nuclear cardiology will study the films to evaluate the heart's pumping function and ejection fraction (the volume of blood pumped out with each heartbeat).