Nuclear Cardiology: A New, Better Way to Evaluate Heart Health

It’s estimated that more than a half million Americans die from heart disease each year, making it among the leading causes of death in the country. Noting this, early detection and subsequent treatment of cardiovascular disease and other issues are key to maintaining a healthy heart. Today, there’s arguably no better assessor of heart health than nuclear cardiology.

Specifically, nuclear cardiology consists of several non-invasive techniques to assess things like blood flow, pumping, size and location of the heart to determine its overall health. It’s a practice we specialize in here at our primary care physician Suffern NY offices. Here’s a closer look at some of the different techniques that are used in nuclear cardiology:

Nuclear Cardiology Techniques

  • Myocardial Perfusion Imaging: This is similar to the conventional stress test that’s often performed, which requires a patient to engage in exercise – usually walking or running on a treadmill or riding on a stationary bike – except that it can help doctors learn more. A special chemical will be administered into the patient’s blood stream, and a special device will then measure how much of it is taken by the heart during periods of both exercise and rest. This can help determine proper blood flow in the heart and also let doctors know if the heart is pumping as it should be.
  • Radionuclide Ventriculography: This is another test that can help doctors analyze the pumping of the heart. It also includes a special chemical imaging agent being administered into the blood stream to allow doctors to better see the heart’s four chambers and how they’re operating. Valve function and the health of the four chambers are the key takeaways for doctors from this test.
  • Imaging: Damage to the heart involves damage to the heart’s nervous system – and a healthy nervous system is essential to a healthy heart. Using a gamma camera, doctors are able to study and analyze the heart’s nervous system following the administration of a chemical agent into the patient’s bloodstream. The results can help determine things like the presence of an abnormal heart beat and the severity of heart disease.
  • PET: PET, or positron emission tomography, helps analyze blood flow to and from the heart. Using a PET imaging camera, doctors can gauge the aforementioned blood flow, as well as points of artery blockages, heart scarring and any other damage that may have been sustained by the heart.

When it comes to your heart, you can never be too careful – and that’s because you don’t want to end up as a statistic. For more information, contact a primary care physician Suffern NY at our offices today.