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Single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) is a nuclear medicine imaging test. It is a type of positron emission tomography, also called a PET scan.
Doctors use SPECT to:
SPECT locates areas of the heart muscle that have inadequate blood flow compared with areas that have normal flow. Inadequate blood flow may mean that coronary arteries are narrowed or that a heart attack has occurred.
It is a noninvasive imaging scan that exposes you to radiation. For this test, your doctor injects a tiny amount of radioactive tracers through a vein in your arm. After the radioactive tracer is injected, a camera that can detect the radiation emitted by these tracers rotates around you. This creates images of your heart from different angles. Then, computer graphics are used to create three-dimensional images of your heart.
For more information about PET scans, see Positron Emission Tomography (PET Scan).
Other Works Consulted
- Udelson JE, et al. (2015). Nuclear cardiology. In DL Mann et al., eds., Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine, 10th ed., vol. 1, pp. 271–315. Philadelphia: Saunders.
Current as ofApril 9, 2019
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Rakesh K. Pai, MD - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Stephen Fort, MD, MRCP, FRCPC - Interventional Cardiology
To learn more, visit Healthwise.org
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