Cardiac imaging with radiotracers plays an important role in patient evaluation, and the development of suitable imaging instruments has been crucial. While initially performed with the rectilinear scanner that slowly transmitted, in a row-by-row fashion, cardiac count distributions onto various printing media, the Anger scintillation camera allowed electronic determination of tracer energies and of the distribution of radioactive counts in 2D space. Increased sophistication of cardiac cameras and development of powerful computers to analyze, display, and quantify data has been essential to making radionuclide cardiac imaging a key component of the cardiac work-up. Newer processing algorithms and solid state cameras, fundamentally different from the Anger camera, show promise to provide higher counting efficiency and resolution, leading to better image quality, more patient comfort and potentially lower radiation exposure. While the focus has been on myocardial perfusion imaging with single-photon emission computed tomography, increased use of positron emission tomography is broadening the field to include molecular imaging of the myocardium and of the coronary vasculature. Further advances may require integrating cardiac nuclear cameras with other imaging devices, ie, hybrid imaging cameras. The goal is to image the heart and its physiological processes as accurately as possible, to prevent and cure disease processes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging