What Are Radiotracers and How Do They Work?

During cardiac PET scans, radiotracers are used to detect tumors or regions of inflammation. Radiotracers are molecules that are linked to a small amount of radioactive material that can be detected on the PET scan for cardiology


PET Radiotracers & Cardiac Imaging, Inc.

PET radiotracers must have a high specificity to a molecular target and should have low non-specific uptake in other tissues. Cardiac Imaging, Inc. uses a radiotracer called Rb-82, or Rubidium-82. The use of Rb-82 in PET imaging produces higher diagnostic accuracy, lower radiation exposure, and quicker exam times compared to the use of Tc-99m in SPECT imaging.


How It Works

A radiotracer is injected, swallowed, or inhaled and then eventually accumulates in the area of the body under examination. A special camera or imaging device is used during this process and will detect the radioactive emissions from the radiotracer. If an abnormal cell is active, it can absorb glucose at a higher rate and therefore be seen on PET scans, allowing your doctor to identify any diseases before it may be seen on other imaging tests.  


Benefits of Nuclear Medicine

Radiotracers are a part of nuclear medicine that have been used in PET cardiac scans for years. Some of the benefits of radiotracers are seen in the common uses of nuclear medicine, including:

  • Evaluating treatment options such as bypass heart surgery and angioplasty
  • Assessing the damage to the heart after a heart attack
  • Visualizing heart blood flow and function


You’re In Safe Hands with Cardiac Imaging, Inc.

A PET scan in cardiology will help evaluate the heart health by measuring the blood flow brought by the coronary arteries to the heart muscle with the help of radiotracers. If you want to learn more today, contact us at (800) 998-2035 and we will be happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have.