About Nuclear Cardiology
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What is Nuclear Cardiology?
Nuclear cardiology is a branch of medical imaging to assess disorders of the heart. The study uses techniques that are non-invasive and minimal amounts of radioactive tracer material.Why the test is performed?
Types of nuclear cardiology techniques
- To evaluate how well a treatment such as medication, angioplasty or heart surgery is working
- To determine if you are at risk for heart disease
- If you experience worsening angina or new pain in the chest
- To diagnose coronary heart disease
- To determine the size of your heart
- To determine the extent of coronary heart disease
- To determine the best treatments for diagnosed disorders
- To visualize the size of a heart attack
- To evaluate how the heart is pumping
How the test is performed?
- Myocardial perfusion imaging: This test can be done in a hospital or outpatient center. This technique is done by injecting a small amount of radioactive material into the patient. Exercise on a stationary bicycle or treadmill or a special drug is used to stress the heart. A gamma camera is used to measure the uptake of the imaging material by the heart during stress and at rest. The doctor then tracks the blood flow through the heart observing for any blockages indicated by decreased blood flow. Myocardial perfusion imaging is also used by doctors to assess the heart’s pumping function and the extent of damaged heart muscle. It enables the doctor to identify which patients require invasive procedures such as heart surgery, angioplasty, and coronary angiography.
- PET rubidium study: This non-invasive technique is used to observe the heart’s metabolic activity and provide the doctor with information about the blood supply to the heart muscle. The PET rubidium study provides clear resolution than standard technology as it is more sensitive. This test is usually done in less than an hour.
- This technique is able to show scarred heart muscle from previous heart attacks. It is also able to show which heart muscles can recover if an angioplasty or bypass surgery is performed thus determine which patients are candidates for the procedures. It is also able used to evaluate the heart’s nervous system.
- MUGA (Multigated Acquisition) scans: This technique is used to determine if the heart is properly pumping blood by creating images of the ventricles. It is able to show the size of the ventricles, blood flow through the heart and any abnormalities that are present. This technique is also known as radionuclide ventriculography.
- This test can be done in a hospital or at an outpatient center.
- You will have an intravenous line (IV) started and a radioactive substance will be injected in. You will lie down and wait for about 15 to 45 minutes. A gamma camera will scan your heart and create images showing how the substance has traveled through your blood vessels and into the heart.
- You will then put your heart under stress by exercise such as walking on a treadmill or riding a stationary bicycle. This can also be done by using medication that the doctor will give you to make your heart beat harder and faster. The radioactive substance will be injected in again. You will wait for 15 to 45 minutes for the gamma camera to scan your heart and take images of the blood flow.
- Throughout the test, your heart rhythm and blood pressure will be monitored. The doctor uses the two sets of images to diagnose you or detect if any existing conditions have worsened or improved.
Risks : -Chest pain
-Shortness of breath
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