Cardiovascular Testing and Diagnostics
Lifespan Cardiovascular Institute

Cardiac PET MPI Scan

Cardiac PET Myocardial Perfusion Imaging (MPI) of the heart is a noninvasive nuclear imaging test. It is used to assess blood flow to the heart muscle to diagnose and evaluate coronary artery disease (CAD). CAD occurs when the arteries supplying blood to the heart become narrowed or blocked. This test shows how well blood flows through the heart muscle. It can indicate areas of the heart muscle that aren’t getting enough blood flow and how well the heart muscle is pumping. 

Preparing for a Cardiac PET MPI

Before the scan, patients are often required to fast for several hours to ensure accurate imaging results. Additionally, certain medications may need to be discontinued temporarily prior to the test. 

Cardiac PET MPI Procedure

A small amount of a radioactive tracer is injected into the bloodstream. These tracers are taken up by the heart muscle cells in proportion to the amount of blood flow. 

The patient lies on a table that moves through a PET scanner, which detects the radioactive emissions from the tracer within the body. As the tracer circulates through the bloodstream and into the heart muscle, the scanner captures images of the heart at rest and/or during stress. Stress imaging is often induced by exercise or pharmacological agents that simulate the effects of exercise. 

Computer software processes the collected data to create detailed images of the heart. These images show areas of the heart muscle that are receiving sufficient blood flow and areas that may have reduced blood flow due to blockages in the coronary arteries. 

A nuclear medicine physician or cardiologist interprets the images to determine any blood flow abnormalities to guide further treatment decisions.