What is Nuclear Cardiology?
Nuclear cardiology studies use noninvasive techniques to assess myocardial blood flow, evaluate the pumping function of the heart as well as visualize the size and location of a heart attack. Among the techniques of nuclear cardiology, myocardial perfusion imaging is the most widely used.
What is the purpose or benefit of nuclear imaging testing?
Nuclear imaging evaluates how organs function, unlike other imaging methods that assess how organs appear. Small amounts of a radioactive solution(s) are introduced into the body. A special camera detects the solution in different parts of the body and a computer generates a series of images of the areas of interest.
Nuclear cardiac imaging can help determine if there is adequate blood flow to the heart muscle during stress versus rest. It can also evaluate heart function and the presence of prior heart attacks.
These cardiac images help to identify coronary heart disease, the severity of prior heart attacks, and the risk of future heart attacks. These highly accurate evaluations of cardiac function and amount of heart muscle at risk enable cardiologists to better prescribe medications and select further testing like a coronary angiogram, the need for angioplasty and bypass surgery, or devices to optimize treatment outcomes.