While SPECT myocardial perfusion imaging is a well-validated noninvasive test to determine the presence of coronary artery disease, other tests are helping to fill in the gaps in identifying those at risk of cardiac events. In particular, measuring myocardial blood flow reserve with rubidium-82 (Rb-82) PET is finding its niche.
In fact, Daniel S. Berman, MD, director of cardiac imaging at Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute in Los Angeles, told Cardiovascular Business that Rb-82 PET “increases PET’s capability to identify patients at risk for developing cardiac events.”
Further validating the technology, researchers from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore found that using Rb-82 PET studies, globally impaired myocardial flow reserve is a “relevant marker” for predicting short-term cardiovascular events. They noted, in a study published in the May issue of the Journal of Nuclear Medicine, that it may be used for integration with currently established functional and morphologic test results and for guidance of preventive measures, especially in the absence of regional flow-limiting disease.
Of course, radiation dose remains a concern with most molecular imaging modalities, as with most advanced imaging technologies. Therefore, in an effort to broaden patients’ protection from excessive radiation, the American College of Radiology (ACR) has launched a CT Dose Index Registry, allowing facilities to track their radiation doses from CT and to gauge their emitted doses against other institutions.
Also, on the patient level, 24-hour national radiation call centers have started to gain steam. A study in this month’s Journal of the American College of Radiology found that a radiation safety call center staffed by nurses may serve as a valuable resource to a public concerned and uncertain about the risks of ionizing radiation and the benefits of imaging studies.
Calls came from across the U.S., varying from inquiries regarding CT (52 percent of calls) to questions concerning the radiation effects of microwaves. Sixteen percent of calls were related to nuclear medicine and 32 percent were for “pediatrics, mammography, MR and general issues.”
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