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Recent Advances in Nuclear Cardiology

Won Woo Lee
Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging 2016, 50 (3): 196-206
Nuclear cardiology is one of the major fields of nuclear medicine practice. Myocardial perfusion studies using single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) have played a crucial role in the management of coronary artery diseases. Positron emission tomography (PET) has also been considered an important tool for the assessment of myocardial viability and perfusion. However, the recent development of computed tomography (CT)/magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technologies and growing concerns about the radiation exposure of patients remain serious challenges for nuclear cardiology. In response to these challenges, remarkable achievements and improvements are currently in progress in the field of myocardial perfusion imaging regarding the applicable software and hardware. Additionally, myocardial perfusion positron emission tomography (PET) is receiving increasing attention owing to its unique capability of absolute myocardial blood flow estimation. An F-18-labeled perfusion agent for PET is under clinical trial with promising interim results. The applications of F-18 fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) and F-18 sodium fluoride (NaF) to cardiovascular diseases have revealed details on the basic pathophysiology of ischemic heart diseases. PET/MRI seems to be particularly promising for nuclear cardiology in the future. Restrictive diseases, such as cardiac sarcoidosis and amyloidosis, are effectively evaluated using a variety of nuclear imaging tools. Considering these advances, the current challenges of nuclear cardiology will become opportunities if more collaborative efforts are devoted to this exciting field of nuclear medicine.


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