BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Medical Policy Manual

Positron Emission Tomography (PET) for Cardiac Applications


Positron emission tomography (PET) images biochemical reactions and physiological functions by measuring concentrations of radioactive chemicals that are partially metabolized in the body region of interest. Radiopharmaceuticals or tracers used for PET are introduced into the body by intravenous injection or by respiration.

The scanners used for PET imaging are very similar to those used for radiograph computed tomography, but PET requires more complicated technology and computerized mathematical models of physiologic functions and tracer kinetics for the generation of images. When assessing myocardial perfusion in individuals with suspected coronary artery disease, PET has slightly higher resolution than the less costly more readily available single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) test.

Note: For a single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) test refer to MCG Care Guideline for Myocardial Perfusion Stress Imaging (A-0078).


See also: 




Einstein, A., Moser, K., Thompson, R., et al. (2007). Radiation dose to patients from cardiac diagnostic imaging. Circulation, 116, 1290-1305. (Level 5 evidence)

Okumura, W., Iwasaki, T., Toyama, T., et al. (2004). Usefulness of fasting F-FDG PET in identification of cardiac sarcoidosis. Journal of Nuclear Medicine, 45 (12), 1989-1998. (Level 3 evidence)

Yoshinaga, K., Chow, B., Williams, K., Chen, L., deKemp, R., Garrard, L., et. al. (2006) What is the Prognostic Value of Myocardial Perfusion Imaging Using Rubidium-82 Positron Emission Tomography? Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 48 (5), 1029-1039. (Level 4 evidence)




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