Nuclear Cardiology: Are We Using the Right Protocols and Tracers the Right Way?
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The field of nuclear cardiology has changed considerably over recent years, with greater attention paid to safety and radiation protection issues. The wider usage of technetium-99m (Tc-99m)-labeled radiopharmaceuticals for single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) imaging using gamma cameras has contributed to better quality studies and lower radiation exposure to patients. Increased availability of tracers and scanners for positron emission tomography (PET) will help further improve the quality of studies and quantify myocardial blood flow and myocardial flow reserve, thus enhancing the contribution of non-invasive imaging to the management of coronary artery disease. The introduction of new instrumentation such as solid state cameras and new software will help reduce further radiation exposure to patients undergoing nuclear cardiology studies. Results from recent studies, focused on assessing the relationship between best practices and radiation risk, provide useful insights on simple measures to improve the safety of nuclear cardiology studies without compromising the quality of results.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
No external funding was used in the preparation of this manuscript.
Conflicts of interest
Maurizio Dondi, Thomas N. Pascual, and Diana Paez declare that they have no conflict of interest that might be relevant to the contents of this manuscript. Andrew J. Einstein reports receiving research grants to Columbia University from GE Healthcare, Philips Healthcare, and Toshiba America Medical Systems.
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