Taking the perfect nuclear image: quality control, acquisition, and processing techniques for cardiac SPECT, PET, and hybrid imaging

J Nucl Cardiol. 2013 Oct;20(5):891-907. doi: 10.1007/s12350-013-9760-9.


Nuclear Cardiology for the past 40 years has distinguished itself in its ability to non-invasively assess regional myocardial blood flow and identify obstructive coronary disease. This has led to advances in managing the diagnosis, risk stratification, and prognostic assessment of cardiac patients. These advances have all been predicated on the collection of high quality nuclear image data. National and international professional societies have established guidelines for nuclear laboratories to maintain high quality nuclear cardiology services. In addition, laboratory accreditation has further advanced the goal of the establishing high quality standards for the provision of nuclear cardiology services. This article summarizes the principles of nuclear cardiology single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) and positron emission tomography (PET) imaging and techniques for maintaining quality: from the calibration of imaging equipment to post processing techniques. It also will explore the quality considerations of newer technologies such as cadmium zinc telleride (CZT)-based SPECT systems and absolute blood flow measurement techniques using PET.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Artifacts
  • Blood Flow Velocity
  • Cadmium / chemistry
  • Calibration
  • Coronary Artery Disease / diagnostic imaging*
  • Electrocardiography / methods
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Motion
  • Positron-Emission Tomography / methods*
  • Quality Control
  • Scattering, Radiation
  • Software
  • Tellurium / chemistry
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon / methods*
  • Zinc / chemistry


  • CdZnTe
  • Cadmium
  • Zinc
  • Tellurium