There are many diagnostic tests available that a cardiologist can recommend. Each test has its own purpose, use, and benefit in monitoring heart health. One of the more popular tests is the POSITRON EMISSION TOMOGRAPHY (PET) scan.
PET scans evaluate a range of heart symptoms and conditions with more superior image quality and higher diagnostic accuracy than many alternatives.
WHAT IS A CARDIAC PET SCAN?
PET scans are imaging tests that can give doctors better insight into the function and structure of one’s body tissues and organs. These tests perform with the use of a specula dye containing radioactive tracers. After receiving the dye injection, the patient will lay on a table that slides into a large, tunnel-shaped machine. This machine scans the area of concern and picks up specific signals from the tracers. Computers will then create a series of images from these signals which then help to create a three-dimensional map of the heart.
Your doctor may order a PET scan if you’re experiencing symptoms of heart trouble which include:
- irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia)
- pain in your chest
- tightness in your chest
- trouble breathing
- profuse sweating
One of the greatest benefits is the ability to accurately measure blood flow between the coronary arteries and heart muscle. Another is being able to detect dead or injured tissue through high-resolution images. With this information, cardiologists are able to diagnose conditions such as Coronary Artery Disease and tissue damage that follow a heart attack.
PET Scans also help cardiologists determine whether or not a patient will need any type of surgical procedure such as angioplasty, to open clogged arteries or a coronary artery bypass surgery.