Vol 78, No 6 (2020)
Review paper
Published online: 2020-05-28

open access

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Nuclear cardiology: an overview of radioisotope techniques used in the diagnostic workup of cardiovascular disorders

Paulina Cegła, Aleksandra Ciepłucha, Marcin Pachowicz, Beata Chrapko, Tomasz Piotrowski, Maciej Lesiak
Pubmed: 32469191
Kardiol Pol 2020;78(6):520-528.


Cardiovascular diseases are the most common cause of death in patients over 60 years old. Pivotal imaging modalities in cardiac diagnostic workup are echocardiography, magnetic resonance, multi‑row detector computed tomography, coronary angiography, and radioisotope tests. In this study, we summarize the techniques of nuclear medicine (positron emission tomography, single‑photon emission computed tomography, radionuclide ventriculography) that could be implemented in the cardiovascular diagnostic algorithms. Despite being acknowledged in a few cardiology guidelines, these imaging methods are still underestimated by practitioners. Nevertheless, noninvasive diagnostic tools are of increasing potential and should be implemented whenever possible. We discuss the usefulness of particular techniques in the management of patients with obstructive and nonobstructive coronary artery disease, including assessment of myocardial perfusion, contractility, viability, and detection of unstable atherosclerotic plaques. Radioisotope imaging can also be valuable in the diagnostic workup of infective endocarditis, as well as cardiac sarcoidosis and amyloidosis. Apart from theoretical principles of nuclear cardiology, we also provide 3 case reports illustrating a practical implementation of these imaging modalities.

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Polish Heart Journal (Kardiologia Polska)