Smoking and Cardiovascular Disease – PET Imaging & Quitting

A person holding a lit cigarette over an ashtray filled with old cigarette butts.

How PET Cardiac Imaging Can Support Smoking Cessation

According to the CDC, smoking is “the leading cause of preventable disease, disability, and death in the United States.” Innumerable studies point to a direct correlation between heart disease and tobacco use. In fact, individuals who smoke cigarettes are 2-4 times more likely to get heart disease than non-smokers.

How Does Smoking Cause Peripheral Artery Disease & CAD?

Coronary artery disease (CAD) and peripheral artery disease (PAD) are both connected to smoking. Smoking causes plaque build-up within arterial walls, inhibiting blood flow to and from the heart. This also significantly increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, and death.

Smoking is also linked to endothelial dysfunction, a specific type of CAD, which can lead to hardening of the arteries, or arteriosclerosis.

Will Quitting Smoking Reverse Damage to Arteries?

Multiple studies have found that once a person quits smoking, body functions return to normal and risks associated with smoking begin to decrease immediately. This includes cardiovascular arterial function, which means blood circulation after quitting smoking also improves. Long term, this can mean patients will see decreased average heart rate and blood pressure.

PET cardiac imaging is well equipped to diagnose CAD, as it can accurately detect decreased blood flow in the heart and abnormal coronary artery function. Since improvement of metabolic function can be seen almost immediately after quitting smoking, PET offers a unique way for physicians to showcase the benefits of quitting.

Smokers, especially patients with heart disease, who undergo nuclear PET imaging, are able to see the effects cigarette smoking has on their health at a clinical level. If a cardiac patient quits smoking, they will be able to see the positive impact it has had on their heart health when they receive their next PET scan.

These visual rewards and knowledge can have a highly positive influence on patients, and even potentially decrease the likelihood of smoking relapse.

Cardiac Imaging – Mobile & Fixed Site Nuclear Imaging

At Cardiac Imaging, we bring mobile cardiac PET imaging and fixed site imaging to physicians across the country. If you’re looking for a way to improve your practice for your patients, contact us today to learn more about our services.