What’s The Difference Between PET and SPECT Scans?

With the advanced medical technology available to us today, there are many possible methods to take images of our bodies. Two of the most effective cardiac scans—cardiac PET imaging and SPECT scans—use very similar processes to analyze the internal functions of our bodies. It is easy to get them confused, so here are some of the differences between cardiac PET scans and cardiac SPECT scans.


PET Scans Can Provide More Detail

Although both PET and SPECT scans use radioactive substances in order to show how your organs are functioning, PET scans allow for even more detail. With cardiac PET imaging, doctors can analyze and quantify your heart’s blood flow, which is crucial when looking for signs of heart disease.


PET and SPECT Scans Use Different Radiotracers

PET and SPECT scans use radiopharmaceuticals to create 3D images, but the tracers used are differently. SPECT scans measure gamma rays, and the radiotracers used with PET scans produce small particles called positrons. The detectors in the PET scanner measure these photos to create images of internal organs.


PET Scan Images are Clearer

PET scan images are generally reported to offer a higher resolution of 5 to 7 mm, compared with a cardiac SPECT scan resolution of 12 to 15 mm. With a higher resolution, radiologists can detect changes to the heart’s blood flow at a granular level.


If you want to learn more about the benefits of PET scans, contact Cardiac Imaging, Inc. today at (800) 998-2035 and we will be happy to answer any of your questions.