Cardiac PET/CT for the evaluation of known or suspected coronary artery disease

Radiographics. Sep-Oct 2011;31(5):1239-54. doi: 10.1148/rg.315115056.


Positron emission tomography (PET) is increasingly being applied in the evaluation of myocardial perfusion. Cardiac PET can be performed with an increasing variety of cyclotron- and generator-produced radiotracers. Compared with single photon emission computed tomography, PET offers lower radiation exposure, fewer artifacts, improved spatial resolution, and, most important, improved diagnostic performance. With its capacity to quantify rest-peak stress left ventricular systolic function as well as coronary flow reserve, PET is superior to other methods for the detection of multivessel coronary artery disease and, potentially, for risk stratification. Coronary artery calcium scoring may be included for further risk stratification in patients with normal perfusion imaging findings. Furthermore, PET allows quantification of absolute myocardial perfusion, which also carries substantial prognostic value. Hybrid PET-computed tomography scanners allow functional evaluation of myocardial perfusion combined with anatomic characterization of the epicardial coronary arteries, thereby offering great potential for both diagnosis and management. Additional studies to further validate the prognostic value and cost effectiveness of PET are warranted.

MeSH terms

  • Artifacts
  • Calcinosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Coronary Artery Disease / diagnostic imaging
  • Coronary Disease / diagnostic imaging*
  • Heart / diagnostic imaging*
  • Humans
  • Multimodal Imaging* / instrumentation
  • Multimodal Imaging* / methods
  • Myocardial Perfusion Imaging / methods
  • Positron-Emission Tomography*
  • Radiometry
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Risk Assessment
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*
  • Ventricular Dysfunction, Left / diagnostic imaging


  • Radiopharmaceuticals