A PET scan, short for positron emission tomography, produces images through the use of radioactive materials. These radiotracers register physiological activities and metabolic processes, such as local chemical composition and blood flow.
For cardiac applications, PET imaging can help assess damage from heart attacks, states of coronary artery disease, or the viability of bypass surgery, angioplasty, or other forms of coronary intervention.
How PET Imaging Works
Cardiac PET imaging works through tracers in the bloodstream. These compounds carry a low-level radioactive tag, which processes out through the kidneys in around 24 hours. The tag’s resulting gamma-ray emissions allow detectors to map the heart and build clear 3D images for diagnoses.
Depending on the level of tracer uptake by heart tissue, the imaging renders variations in brightness that doctors use to determine viability and function of regions in the heart, such as sufficient blood flow or dead-cell scarring from earlier events.
The PET Imaging Process
Cardiac PET imaging can take place in either mobile or fixed-base clinics. During the 1-to-3-hour process, technologists perform an initial baseline scan without the tracer by sliding the patient into a doughnut-shaped table scanner.
After an IV-based tracer introduction and a potential chemical stress test that approximates typical elevated blood flow from exercise, another heart scan takes place. The doctor compares the before and after scans to observe tracer uptake, which indicates levels of heart functionality.
PET Imaging Options
To learn more about cardiac PET imaging services and options, contact Cardiac Imaging, Inc. The PET imaging specialists offer all-inclusive mobile imaging services, including onboard 3D PET systems and tracer generators, and comprehensive turnkey fixed-based partnerships with the latest in PET/CT hybrid systems. Discover diagnostic options at 800-998-2035 or online today.
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