Nuclear Cardiology

Nuclear cardiology involves the application of noninvasive procedures to assess the condition of the heart. In these procedures, a small portion of radionuclide (radioactive tracer) is injected into the patient’s vein and is taken up by the heart. Still photos and movies of the heart during exercise, rest or drug-induced stress testing are taken using a highly sensitive gamma camera. These images are important in identifying the risk of future heart attacks, the seriousness of prior heart attacks and identifying coronary heart disease. The accurate measurement of heart function, size, and muscle at risk of damage enables nuclear cardiologists to better prescribe drugs and recommend additional testing.

Nuclear cardiology has played an important role in establishing heart disease diagnoses and the prediction of results in cases of coronary artery disease as well as the assessment of the disease’s extent. Among the techniques used in nuclear cardiology, myocardial perfusion imaging is the most widely used procedure.

In myocardial perfusion imaging, images are used together with exercise to monitor how blood flows through the heart muscle. A chemical stress test can be conducted using regadenoson, dobutamine, adenosine or dipyridamole for patients who may be unable to exercise sufficiently. Exercise can be in the form of riding a stationary bicycle or walking on the treadmill. After an imaging agent has been injected into the blood stream, a gamma camera is used in measuring the uptake by the heart during chemical stress, rest or exercise. In case of a major blockage in the coronary artery, the heart may be unable to take in enough blood, and the images will detect the decreased blood flow.

Myocardial perfusion, therefore, can easily identify the heart muscle areas that have insufficient supply of blood as well as areas that are scarred from a heart attack. The Council for Certification in Cardiovascular Imaging recognizes physicians who have demonstrated great knowledge and skills in the field of nuclear cardiology.

Nuclear cardiology entails the usage of some drugs that are injected into the vein and taken up by the heart. Pharmacy Coupons can help a patient save money on drugs related to cardiovascular disease. Pharmacy Coupons is the customer’s sure way of saving money.