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Curr Probl Cardiol. 2006 Sep;31(9):557-629.

Nuclear cardiology: present and future.

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Nuclear Cardiology Laboratory, Yale-New Haven Hospital, CT, USA.


Nuclear cardiology has made significant advances since the first reports of planar scintigraphy for the evaluation of left ventricular perfusion and function. While the current "state of the art" of gated myocardial perfusion single-photon emission computed tomographic (SPECT) imaging offers invaluable diagnostic and prognostic information for the evaluation of patients with suspected or known coronary artery disease (CAD), advances in the cellular and molecular biology of the cardiovascular system have helped to usher in a new modality in nuclear cardiology, namely, molecular imaging. In this review, we will discuss the current state of the art in nuclear cardiology, which includes SPECT and positron emission tomographic evaluation of myocardial perfusion, evaluation of left ventricular function by gated myocardial perfusion SPECT and gated blood pool SPECT, and the evaluation of myocardial viability with PET and SPECT methods. In addition, we will discuss the future of nuclear cardiology and the role that molecular imaging will play in the early detection of CAD at the level of the vulnerable plaque, the evaluation of cardiac remodeling, and monitoring of important new therapies including gene therapy and stem cell therapy.

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