Radio therapy

In the current issue of Cardiovascular Innovations and Applications volume 4, issue 1, pp. 13-24(12) ;, Austin A. Robinson, MD and Jamieson M. Bourque, MD, MHS from the Cardiovascular Division and the Cardiovascular Imaging Center, Department of Medicine, University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville, VA, USA consider emerging techniques for cardiovascular PET.

Consider emerging techniques

Positron emission tomography (PET) has been successfully applied to an increasing number of cardiovascular conditions. The authors highlight the status of cardiovascular PET, including the present state of the art and the expanding pool of clinical evidence guiding its use.

Additionally, upcoming developments in the field are highlighted; including the development of new tracers and applications of PET to novel indications within cardiovascular medicine. From its origin in diagnosing coronary artery stenoses, cardiovascular PET has grown into a staple of contemporary cardiovascular care, with impending advances touching all corners of the field, including new tracers and absolute flow assessment in CAD and CMD and characterization of lesions in vascular plaques, cardiac valves; the myocardium, and implanted devices.

Critical diagnostic information

In addition to its breadth of application, cardiovascular PET offers critical diagnostic information, informs prognosis; and has the potential to impact care. Given these strengths and ongoing advances; therefore the present use of cardiovascular PET is bright and its future potential is enormous. A PET scan of the heart is a noninvasive nuclear imaging test.

It uses radioactive tracers (called radionuclides) to produce pictures of your heart. Doctors use cardiac PET scans to diagnose coronary artery disease (CAD) and damage due to a heart attack. Therefore PET scans can show healthy and damaged heart muscle. Doctors also use PET scans to help find out if you will benefit from a percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) such as angioplasty and stenting, coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG) or another procedure.

Percutaneous coronary intervention

PET scans use radioactive material called tracers. Tracers mix with your blood and are taken up by your heart muscle. A special “gamma” detector that circles the chest picks up signals from the tracer. A computer converts the signals into pictures of your heart at work.  A PET scan shows if your heart is getting enough blood or if blood flow is reduce because of narrowed arteries.
It also shows dead cells (scars) from a prior heart attack.  Because A PET scan can help in determining if you’ll benefit from a cardiac procedure (PCI) or surgery to restore blood flow. The tracers used for PET scans can help identify injured but still living (viable) heart muscle that might be saved if blood flow is restored.