The Weatherhead PET Imaging Center
The PET Imaging Center

PET and the Heart

How do PET scans differ from other tests?

Clinical studies have shown that PET scans are more accurate than other widely used tests such as ECG (electrocardiogram), treadmill testing and standard nuclear stress tests such as SPECT (single photon emission computed tomography). These tests are associated with "false positive" and "false negative" results. False positives are results that show coronary heart disease where none really exists. False positives can lead to people undergoing unnecessary invasive procedures. Because PET scans are so accurate, they are often used to confirm other tests if a false positive or false negative is suspected. "False negatives" are normal results when coronary heart disease really exists. False negatives can lead to undetected heart disease.

Heart Scans (Fast CT) can detect the presence of calcium in the coronary arteries but can’t tell you if the calcium is affecting blood flow in the arteries. PET gives you both; information on the presence of calcium and an accurate quantitative measurement of the blood flow in the coronary arteries.