What is Nuclear Cardiology?
In this short article, we’ll provide a brief overview on common nuclear cardiology procedures and how they are used to measure and document the functioning of the heart and its related structures. If you’re looking for a cardiologist in Tampa Bay, look no further than Sachin Diwadkar, M.D., with Ascent Cardiology Group who is board certified in nuclear cardiology by the Council for the Certification of Cardiovascular Imaging (CCCVI) and CBNC.
During MPI, a small amount of an imaging agent called a radioactive tracer is injected intravenously into the bloodstream during rest and during exercise or chemical stress. The exercise can be in the form of walking on a treadmill or riding a stationary bicycle, whereas the chemical stress will be a drug, such as adenosine or dipyridamole. Typically, two scans are taken — one at rest and one in which the agent is injected during exercise or chemical stress. On the scan, the doctor is able to determine which areas of the heart are healthy because those areas would have absorbed the tracer. Any areas that didn’t absorb the tracer can be considered damaged, or lacking in good blood flow.
Related: Everything You Need to Know About Stress Tests
Cardiac positron emission tomography/computed axial tomography (PET-CT) is a variation of this test in which additional images and measurements are taken, including structural images of your arteries, a calcium score, and a measurement of blood flow to your heart muscle. Both SPECT and PET-CT tests are effective in predicting whether or not you would benefit from additional procedures, evaluating blood supply to damaged areas of the heart, and assessing whether you have coronary artery disease.
Related: What a Stress Test Can Say About Your Heart Health
Dr. Diwadkar from Ascent Cardiology Group can vouch for the high rates of success of nuclear cardiology in the diagnosis and treatment of coronary artery disease. Any one of the noninvasive techniques listed above, as well as a number of others, can be used to assess myocardial blood flow, evaluate the heart’s ability to pump blood, and visualize the size and location of a previous heart attack. To learn more, please contact us today.
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