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Nuclear Cardiology Imaging

Doctor reviews PET with patient

To continue its longstanding history of leadership in biomedical imaging, the Johns Hopkins Division of Nuclear Medicine has recently enhanced and expanded its services with the most advanced nuclear imaging systems and additional expert clinicians. The novel SPECT/CT and PET/CT scanners now incorporate the most modern PET and SPECT detection methods with state-of-the-art multi-slice X-ray CT to increase diagnostic accuracy.

We offer cardiac imaging at the highest possible standard for the workup of suspected or known cardiovascular disease. Our program is continuously updated through incoming developments from our cardiovascular research program.

An unparalleled spectrum of nuclear imaging methods information can be provided even in the most challenging cases, to guide further clinical decision making based on reliable diagnostic and prognostic information. Virtually no patient is too small or too large for our services.

Clinical Diagnostic Procedures

  • Myocardial Perfusion SPECT (including assessment of ventricular function) with routine CT attenuation correction
  • Myocardial Perfusion PET (including assessment of ventricular function) with CT attenuation correction
  • CT-Determination of Coronary Calcium Score (in combination with either SPECT or PET)
  • Myocardial Viability Assessment by Perfusion/Metabolism PET
  • Radionuclide Angiography (MUGA) (for reproducible quantification of left and right ventricular function)

Nuclear Imaging: Noninvasive Insights into Cardiac Function

Within recent years, a large body of evidence has accumulated to indicate that functional impairments are more closely related to development and outcome of heart disease than morphologic changes. Functional imaging techniques are thus often considered the superior methods to detect individuals at risk for cardiac events, to guide selection of appropriate therapy and to monitor the success of this therapy.

Nuclear imaging is a noninvasive functional diagnostic approach, which as single photon imaging, has been established for decades as a clinical cardiac tool. The distribution of bio-molecules, labeled with small doses of short-lived radioactive isotopes, is measured, allowing for assessment of myocardial perfusion, contractile function and metabolism. Single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) is the standard technique, which provides high diagnostic accuracy, reliability and reproducibility. PET and the novel hybrid systems now available at Johns Hopkins are expected to increase accuracy even further, especially in large patients.

The most frequent, evidence-based clinical indications for nuclear testing are:

  • Detection/exclusion of coronary artery disease
  • Assessment of risk for cardiovascular events
  • Determination of functional relevance of known coronary artery disease
  • Monitoring of therapy for coronary artery disease
  • Myocardial viability assessment in heart failure/after myocardial infarction
  • Evaluation of global left ventricular function before and after chemotherapy
  • Evaluation of the synchrony of left ventricular emptying with phase analysis
  • Evaluation of right to left shunting
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