The Weatherhead PET Imaging Center

PET and the Heart

Why do a PET scan?

Since its diagnostic accuracy is much higher than standard tests at comparable cost per study, PET reduces expense and risk by avoiding unnecessary tests and procedures, thereby providing more efficient diagnoses. PET can be an alternative to invasive tests such as cardiac catheterization, in which a thin tube is threaded to the coronary arteries through an artery in the leg and X-ray pictures are taken after dye is injected into the heart.

There are 3 main reasons to have a cardiac PET scan:

  1. To be screened for early heart disease in patients who have no symptoms or unusual symptoms and have high cholesterol levels or a strong family history of heart disease.
  2. To check on the status of the coronary arteries in patients who have known coronary artery disease or who want to check on the progress of reversal treatment or other interventions.
  3. To check on the viability of the heart muscle. If heart tissue has died because of a heart attack, the heart will not work as well. The amount of damage and percentage of the heart affected will help doctors determine appropriate treatment including whether or not CABG surgery will be helpful.