PET tops list of non-invasive imaging procedures

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The European Society of Cardiology compared non-invasive coronary artery procedures to determine which approach is best.

Coronary angiographs are considered the most accurate ways to diagnose coronary heart disease, according to the National Health Service in the U.K. While x-ray images of the heart’s arteries do help detect where fatty build-ups have blocked the heart’s blood supply, the procedure to acquire these images is invasive.

Other, less invasive methods are available, but, until now, there has been no evidence to suggest which test will help physicians make the correct diagnosis.  

Findings from the PACIFIC trial—a single study trial of 208 patients with suspected coronary artery disease conducted by the ESC—show that PET scans are the most significantly accurate for diagnosing the disease.

Patients then received non-invasive PET, SPECT and CCTA as well as some "hybrid" combinations of PET and CCTA or SPECT and CCTA designed to combine functional and anatomical assessments.

"The results will definitely spark further research,” Ibrahim Danad, MD, a cardiologist at VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, said in a statement. “There is always a lot of discussion whether we need to choose SPECT or PET as the initial functional test for our patients. I think that we need to invest more in clinical PET imaging, which will be future. It is more convenient for patients in terms of time, accuracy and radiation dose."