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Q J Nucl Med Mol Imaging. 2010 Apr;54(2):177-200.

SPECT/PET myocardial perfusion imaging versus coronary CT angiography in patients with known or suspected CAD.

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Department of Imaging, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, CSMC Burns and Allen Research Institute, Los Angeles, California 90048, USA.


Stress SPECT myocardial perfusion imaging (MPI) is the most commonly utilized stress imaging technique for patients with suspected or known coronary artery disease (CAD) and has a robust evidence base including the support of numerous clinical guidelines. Gated SPECT is a well-established noninvasive imaging modalities that is a core element in evaluation of patients with both acute and stable chest pain syndromes. Over the past decade, PET has become increasingly used for the same applications. By comparison, cardiac computed tomography (CT) is a more recently developed method, providing non-invasive approaches for imaging coronary atherosclerosis and coronary artery stenosis. Non-contrast CT for imaging the extent of coronary artery calcification (CAC), in clinical use since the mid-1990's, has a very extensive evidence base supporting its use in CAD prevention. While contrast-enhanced CT for noninvasive CT coronary angiography (CCTA) is relatively new, it has already developed an extensive base of evidence regarding diagnosing obstructive CAD and more recently evidence has emerged regarding its prognostic value. It is likely that non-contrast CT or CCTA for assessment of extent of atherosclerosis will become an increasing part of mainstream cardiovascular imaging practices as a first line test. In some patients, further ischemia testing with MPI will be required. Similarly, MPI will continue to be widely used as a first-line test, and in some patients, further anatomic definition of atherosclerosis with CT will also be appropriate. This review will provide a synopsis of the available literature on imaging that integrates both CT and MPI in strategies for the assessment of asymptomatic patients for their atherosclerotic coronary disease burden and risk as well as symptomatic patients for diagnosis and guiding management. We propose possible strategies through which imaging might be used to identify asymptomatic candidates for more intensive prevention and risk factor modification strategies as well as symptomatic patients who would benefit from referral to invasive coronary angiography for consideration of revascularization.

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