Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. A heart PET/CT scan allows the study and measurement of heart tissue function. This noninvasive imaging can produce 3D images of the heart at work.

PET/CT is also used to diagnose and manage cancer and brain disorders. Doctors at University of Maryland Diagnostic Radiology and Nuclear Medicine work with our heart and vascular specialists to use PET/CT to determine whether bypass surgery or heart transplant is the appropriate treatment.

To make a PET/CT appointment at UMMC's Diagnostic Radiology Department, call 410-328-3225.

Cardiac PET/CT is similar to other types of noninvasive tests to diagnose coronary artery disease (CAD). This includes a nuclear stress test, which uses radioactive material to check blood flow into the heart muscle at rest and during activity.

PET/CT is sometimes better than a nuclear stress test because the patient’s body can’t distort images and the test can determine whether portions of the heart muscle are alive and functioning. It also measures how well those living portions function after a heart attack or other event that reduces the amount of oxygen-rich blood reaching the heart muscle.

In two areas of clinical application, PET/CT is the:

  • Most accurate test to reveal or rule out coronary artery disease and impaired blood flow
  • Gold standard to determine the viability of heart tissue for restoring blood flow