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Positron Emission Tomography (PET) of the Heart

By

Thomas Cascino

, MD, MSc, Michigan Medicine, University of Michigan;


Michael J. Shea

, MD, Michigan Medicine at the University of Michigan

Last full review/revision Jul 2021| Content last modified Jul 2021
CLICK HERE FOR THE PROFESSONAL VERSION

In positron emission tomography Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Positron emission tomography (PET) is a type of radionuclide scanning. A radionuclide is a radioactive form of an element, which means it is an unstable atom that becomes more stable by releasing... read more Positron Emission Tomography (PET) (PET), a substance necessary for heart cell function (such as oxygen or sugar) is labeled with a radioactive substance (radionuclide) that gives off positrons (electrons with a positive charge). The labeled nutrient is injected into a vein and reaches the heart in a few minutes. A sensor detects the positrons and uses them to create a picture of the body part being studied.

PET is used to determine how much blood is reaching different parts of the heart muscle and how different parts of the heart muscle process (metabolize) various substances. For example, when labeled sugar is injected, doctors can determine which parts of the heart muscle have an inadequate blood supply because those parts use more sugar than normal.

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