Utility of nuclear cardiovascular imaging in the cardiac intensive care unit

J Nucl Cardiol. 2021 Jun 9. doi: 10.1007/s12350-021-02665-z. Online ahead of print.


The contemporary Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU) has evolved into a complex unit that admits a heterogeneous mix of patients with a wide range of acute cardiovascular diseases often complicated by multi-organ failure. Although electrocardiography (ECG) and echocardiography are well-established as first-line diagnostic modalities for assessing patients in the CICU, nuclear cardiology imaging has emerged as a useful adjunctive diagnostic modality. The versatility, safety and accuracy of nuclear imaging (e.g., perfusion, metabolism, inflammation) for the assessment of patient with coronary artery disease, ventricular arrhythmias, infiltrative cardiomyopathies, infective endocarditis and inflammatory aortopathies has been proven useful and now often incorporated into the best practices for the management of critically ill cardiac patients. Thus, clinicians must familiarize themselves with the value and current and future applications of nuclear imaging in the management of the cardiac patient in the CICU.

Keywords: Cardiac intensive care unit; Endocarditis; Nuclear cardiology; Positron emission tomography; Sarcoidosis.

Publication types

  • Review