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JAMA. 1990 Jan 26;263(4):561-4.

Single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT). Applications and potential.

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  • 1Department of Radiology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA 02115.


Single-photon emission computed tomography has received increasing attention as radiopharmaceuticals that reflect perfusion, metabolism, and receptor and cellular function have become widely available. Perfusion single-photon emission computed tomography of the brain provides functional information useful for the diagnosis and management of stroke, dementia, and epilepsy. Single-photon emission computed tomography has been applied to myocardial, skeletal, hepatic, and tumor scintigraphy, resulting in increased diagnostic accuracy over planar imaging because background activity and overlapping tissues interfere far less with activity from the target structure when tomographic techniques are used. Single-photon emission computed tomography is substantially less expensive and far more accessible than positron emission tomography and will become an increasingly attractive alternative for transferring the positron emission tomography technology to routine clinical use. In addition, single-photon emission computed tomography has unique applications that are increasingly finding their way into the routine practice of clinical nuclear medicine.

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