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Cardiac PET Study

Cardiac PET (Positron Emission Tomography) is an advanced noninvasive method of studying the heart that makes use of drugs that emit positrons. Positrons are electrical particles with a positive charge.

The PET center at Mount Sinai offers two types of cardiac PET studies. One test (Rb-82) is a stress test that measures blood circulation in the arteries of the heart. The second (F-18 FDG) is used to assess heart muscle functioning following a previous injury, such as a heart attack. The F-18 FDG study is performed if weakening in the overall function of the heart has been detected by another test, such as the Rb-82 test (see General Procedure section).

PET stress tests with Rb-82 are used to check the health of the coronary arteries for functionally significant obstructions (narrowing), which can reduce blood flow to heart muscle and lead to the heart muscle becoming "starved" of oxygen. This condition is called coronary artery disease. Symptoms can include chest pain and shortness of breath. With coronary artery disease there is an increase in the possibility of a myocardial infarction (heart attack). PET cardiac scans with Rb-82 are more accurate than other cardiac stress tests such as Thallium-201 SPECT (Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography) in the detection of heart disease and provide enhanced quantification.

Because of this increase in accuracy, invasive catheterizations can often be avoided in those patients who do not need it.

Knowing about these obstructions can help the physician decide the best course of further diagnostic tests and treatment, such as catheterization, when necessary.


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