Cardiac PET CT Testing

Mount Sinai Morningside features advanced imaging capabilities for the detection of heart disease. Cardiac positron emission tomography (PET) can be combined with computed tomography (CT) scanning to provide imaging of the functioning heart as well as heart anatomy. A small amount of radioactive tracer is used in these tests. The radioactive molecule that we use is called rubidium and is extremely safe—it delivers significantly lower radiation and has a very short half-life, meaning it doesn’t last long in the body. Mount Sinai Morningside is one of the few facilities in the New York area to have its own rubidium generator, and our imaging specialists have specific expertise in these procedures. Because of this capability, we are able to schedule timely and easy access to the entire range of advanced cardiac PET testing.

The cardiac PET CT test is a noninvasive procedure that can detect the progression of heart disease, as well as inflammation or infection around the heart. A small amount of radioactive tracer is injected into a vein, and a special camera called a PET scanner detects the radiation released by the tracer and creates computer images of your heart. The test is combined with a medication to open your blood vessels and simulates the effects of exercise on your cardiovascular system. It may be used if you are unable to exercise on a treadmill or exercise bicycle and measures the blood flow to your heart under stress. There are three common types of cardiac PET CT tests that measure blood flow, detect damage to heart muscles, or check for inflammation or infection. Learn more about PET tests and how to prepare for them.