Journal of Nuclear Cardiology

, Volume 19, Supplement 1, pp 3–11 | Cite as

Advantages and disadvantages of PET and SPECT in a busy clinical practice

  • Timothy M. BatemanEmail author
Review Article


The continued high utilization of rest-stress single-photon emission computed tomographic (SPECT) myocardial perfusion imaging (MPI) is supported by its known clinical benefits, established reimbursement, and wide availability of cameras and radiopharmaceuticals. However, traditional rest-stress SPECT protocols tend to be lengthy and inefficient, and the prevalence of equivocal studies continues to be a problem. The use of stress-only SPECT protocols in selected patients, and a new generation of ultrafast SPECT cameras have led to improved image quality, reduced dosimetry and shorter, more efficient MPI protocols. The utilization of positron emission tomographic (PET) MPI has been accelerated by the availability of radiopharmaceuticals that can be generated on-site, and by the availability of more PET cameras. Emerging evidence consistently demonstrates that PET provides improved image quality, greater interpretive certainty, higher diagnostic accuracy, lower patient dosimetry, and shorter imaging protocols as compared to SPECT. Importantly, PET imaging allows assessment of left ventricular function at peak-stress, and evaluation of microvascular function through the measurement of absolute myocardial blood flow at rest and at peak-stress. Wider utilization of PET MPI is hindered by a high cost of entry, high on-going costs, and an immature reimbursement structure.

Key Words

SPECT PET Myocardial perfusion imaging 



Dr Bateman reported receiving grant support from Bracco Diagnostics, Philips Healthcare, GE Healthcare, Lantheus Medical Imaging, Astellas Pharmaceuticals, CellPoint, and SpectrumDynamics. Dr Bateman reported receiving royalties from ExSPECT II, and ImagenPro/MD/Q. Dr Bateman reported stock ownership in CVIT. Dr Bateman reported to be part of the advisory board for Bracco Diagnostics, Lantheus Medical Imaging, Spectrum Dynamics, Astellas Pharmaceuticals, and GE Healthcare.


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Copyright information

© American Society of Nuclear Cardiology 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cardiovascular Radiologic ImagingMid-America Heart and Vascular InstituteKansas CityUSA
  2. 2.University of Missouri-Kansas CityKansas CityUSA

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