PET and the Heart
Coronary Heart Disease
Coronary Heart Disease, the most common form of heart disease in this country and the primary cause of heart attacks, is the single largest killer of American men and women. Coronary Heart Disease occurs when the arteries carrying blood to the heart are blocked. Every 30 seconds, an American suffers a heart attack because of such a blockage, and 40 percent die within a year. More than 12 million Americans have been diagnosed with the disease and many more, an estimated 25% of the middle-aged population, are unaware of their illness until they succumb to an attack. In the U.S., coronary heart disease accounts for one-third of all deaths each year. Now Positron Emission Tomography (PET) diagnoses heart disease non-invasively with 96-98% accuracy in individuals with or without symptoms of heart disease, permitting treatment even before symptoms appear.
Coronary artery disease can be substantially reversed or its progression stopped by improving risk factors and by cholesterol lowering pharmaceuticals. This comprehensive medical approach decreases heart attacks, sudden death, the need for bypass surgery and balloon dilation or improves outcome of these procedures if needed