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Echocardiography. 2005 Feb;22(2):165-77.

Role of F-18 FDG positron emission tomography (PET) in the assessment of myocardial viability.

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Division of Nuclear Medicine, Department of Radiology, St Luke's Roosevelt Hospital, New York, New York 10019, USA.


Positron emission tomography (PET) is a functional imaging technique with important clinical applications in cardiology, oncology, and neurology. In cardiac imaging, its role has been extensively evaluated in the noninvasive diagnosis of coronary artery disease and in the determination of prognosis. Additionally, cardiac PET with F-18 fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) is very helpful in selection of patients with coronary artery disease and left ventricular dysfunction who would benefit from coronary artery revascularization. Cardiac PET is arguably considered by many as a gold standard in this particular application. F-18, unlike other positron emitters, has a reasonably long physical half-life, which permits its distribution through commercial radiopharmacies. This is further facilitated by increasing popularity of FDG PET in oncology, which makes cardiac FDG PET a practical option for hospitals and outpatient centers equipped with PET scanners. In addition, gamma camera single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) systems, routinely used in nuclear medicine departments, can be equipped with coincidence circuit or high-energy 511 KeV collimators, providing a cost-effective means of FDG cardiac imaging. Myocardial utilization of glucose as a substrate is variable, depending, among other factors, on serum levels of glucose and insulin. Therefore, patient preparation is important in obtaining good-quality images and in turn allowing for accurate interpretation of myocardial viability. There are various protocols to choose from that provide diagnostic image quality in both diabetic and nondiabetic patients. Mismatch between blood flow and FDG metabolism, an indicator of viable, jeopardized myocardium, can predict postrevascularization improvement in left ventricular function, symptomatic relief, and long-term survival.

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